ORANGE COUNTY – Five more people have died from the flu in North Carolina, bringing the total number of deaths to 27 this flu season, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The recent deaths occurred between Jan. 5 and Jan. 11.

Pam McCall, Director of Personal Health Services for the Orange County Health Department, said that the number of deaths is not unusual at this stage of the flu season.

“We actually had a total of 59 flu deaths last year in North Carolina. This time last year, the number of deaths was 35. It is pretty much on track as to what it was last year,” McCall said.

The state announced the first reported child flu death Monday.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that people six months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

“It is recommended for parents and family members of young children—everyone in the family—in order to protect that infant who cannot be vaccinated,” she said.

McCall said it is not too late for people to get their annual flu shot, but it does take two weeks for the shot to become effective and for the antibodies to develop in your body.

The vaccine protects against various strains of flu virus circulating this year, including H1N1. It is available in nasal spray and shot form.

Flu season runs from September until around March. The number of cases typically peaks in January or February.

McCall said if you do come down with the flu, the antiviral medication TAMIFLU® can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

The flu vaccine is offered at the Orange County Health Department. To find other locations where the vaccine is administered, click here.