GREENSBORO, N.C - Are you worried about the flu? If so, you're not alone.
This flu season is already one of the worst seasons on record and may not reach its peak for several more weeks to come.
The CDC has reported 1 in 10 deaths in the U.S. currently caused by influenza or pneumonia.
More than 60 children have died from the flu and 1 in 13 doctor visits last week was for flu-like symptoms.
Statistics like this haven't been seen since the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
In North Carolina, there have been 140 flu-related deaths, with 108 of them occurring in the last few weeks.
The current total is more than halfway to the mark of 218 deaths in the 2016-17 flu season.
Health officials say the annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your family from the flu virus.
But, many North Carolinians go the entire flu season without getting vaccinated.
For that reason, Walmart is offering flu shots through the entire flu season.
The flu shot starts at $39.84 at Walmart. Most insurance plans cover flu shots with no copay.
Other vaccines are also available. For more information about flu shots at Walmart, click here.
Here's some tips from the CDC to protect yourself from the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.