Don’t Be a Shot Dodger!

Meet the Shot Dodgers


The annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting you and your family from the influenza (flu) virus. Yet, many North Carolinians go the entire flu season — October through May — without getting vaccinated. Enter the Shot Dodgers with their common reasons for skipping the flu vaccine. While these characters dodge the vaccine, they don’t always dodge the flu. And, the flu knocks everyone off their game.

Don’t be a Shot Dodger! Contact your health care provider or visit to find a convenient location to get a flu vaccination near you.

About Influenza (Flu) Viruses

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people — such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Seasonal influenza vaccine must be changed each year as the viruses naturally change over time.

To avoid catching the flu, get vaccinated each year and practice good hand hygiene. To avoid giving the flu to others, stay home when you are sick, cough or sneeze into tissues and discard them properly, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an approved hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

During October through May, the N.C. Division of Public Health provides weekly updates on the spread of the influenza in North Carolina.


Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)



N.C. Department of Health and Human Services N.C. Public Health Knocking Down Four Common Reasons for Dodging the Flu Vaccine



North Carolina Influenza Statistics (Updated October - May)


Influenza-like Illness graph

N.C. Flu-Associated Deaths*


New Flu Deaths 5/12/19-5/18/19


Total Flu Deaths This Season (9/30/2018-5/18/2019)

*Influenza-associated Deaths –This number is based on reports submitted by providers to the North Carolina Division of Public Health. An influenza-associated death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death (adult or pediatric) resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test with no period of complete recovery between the illness and death. Deaths that occurred on or after 9/30/2019 will be reflected in the 2019-20 season.

Past Seasons



Information for Providers

This section is intended to provide updated information to all North Carolina health care providers and laboratories regarding Influenza.

2018–19 Influenza Season: Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 830KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18

Infection Control Guidance for NC Clinicians (PDF, 779KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18

Testing Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 108KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18

Specimen Collection for Influenza Testing at the North Carolina State Laboratory for Public Health (PDF, 96KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18

Treatment Guidance for NC Clinicians (PDF, 143KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18

Surveillance Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 128KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18


Novel Influenza Information

   N.C. Memo to Clinicians on Influenza A (H7N9) Virus (PDF, 169KB) - UPDATED 02/08/17

   N.C. Avian Flu Guidance (PDF, 139KB) - UPDATED 09/26/16

  CDC: Information on Avian Influenza

   Influenza A H3N2v Virus Infections: Update for Clinicians (PDF, 274KB) - UPDATED 09/26/16

  CDC: Interim Guidance for Clinicians on Human Infections with Variant Influenza Viruses

  CDC: Information on Swine Influenza/Variant Influenza Virus




  1. What are ways to prevent the flu?

    • Vaccination is still the best protection available
    • Wash your hands
    • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
    • If you are sick, stay home from work and keep your kids home from school if they are sick so it does not spread
    • If you do become sick with the flu, there are antiviral medications you can speak about with your doctor
  2. Can the flu be treated?

    Yes. There are prescription medications called "antiviral drugs" that can be used to treat influenza illness.

  3. Should I still get a flu vaccine?

    Yes. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza.

  4. What are antiviral drugs?

    Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

  5. What are the benefits of antiviral drugs?

    When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people with a high risk medical condition, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

  6. What antiviral drugs are recommended this flu season?

    There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza. The brand names for these are Tamiflu® (generic name oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name zanamivir), and Rapivab® (generic name peramivir). Tamiflu® is available as a pill or liquid and Relenza® is a powder that is inhaled. (Relenza® is not for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD, for example.) Rapivab® is administered intravenously by a health care provider.

  7. Can children take antiviral drugs?

    Yes. Children can take two of the approved antiviral drugs—oseltamivir and zanamivir. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is recommended by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 2 weeks and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 3 months and older. Zanamivir (Relenza®) is recommended for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 7 years and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 5 years and older. Peramivir (Rapivab®) is recommended for use only in adults aged 18 and older.

  8. Can pregnant women take antiviral drugs?

    Yes. Oral oseltamivir is preferred for treatment of pregnant women because it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial.

  9. Who should take antiviral drugs?

    It’s very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor this season. Most otherwise-healthy people who get the flu, however, do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.

CDC: What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs



Flu Information




Communicable Disease

 Telephone: (919) 733-3419 (main number; 24 hours)

 Website: North Carolina Communicable Disease

Media Inquiries

 Telephone: (919) 855-4840