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More flu cases reported in the Piedmont

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GREENSBORO, N.C. --- The Centers for Disease Control lists North Carolina as a state with "widespread" influenza cases.

That means more than half of regions in the state have laboratory-confirmed cases of flu.

 "Widespread" states indicate the CDC's highest level of flu cases, according to their online maps.

Large yellow signs at Moses Cone Health System warn people that the flu is here and contagious; one of the signs is stationed next to hand-sanitizer stations at the Women's Education Center on Green Valley Road.

Kathleen Kohunt, an Infection Prevention expert with Moses Cone, said if someone in your family has the flu, there are several steps to take to avoid getting it yourself.

"The very first thing you need to do is get vaccinated. It take about two week for the vaccination to fully take effect, but anything is better than nothing."

Next she says, involved hand hygiene.

"The exposure to your loved ones' respiratory secretions is what spreads the disease to you," explained Kohunt.

More than twenty clinics and doctors offices in Guilford County told Fox8 they are still taking appointments for flu shots; many are also treating people with flu-like symptoms who did not get the shot.

Walgreens customer Dixie Hankins gets her flu shot right away every year.

"I took care of my mother, she had a stroke, and I took care of her for five and a half years. Her doctor thought it was a good idea that I take the flu shot so I didn't give her the flu. That was 1986 and I've been taking one every year since," said Hankins.

Kohunt said most symptoms, like aches and fever, should be treated at home with over-the-counter medicine.

She said it's likely not necessary to go to a doctor unless you are still getting worse after a week.

"Eat a well-balanced diet, lots of sleep and just take care of yourself in general is all you can really do!"