DHEC encourages South Carolinians to get flu shot

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging residents to protect themselves against the flu as the season continues.

The department said regardless of when flu season peaks, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“The Influenza A strain continues to be the most frequently reported this season in South Carolina and nationally,” said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant.  “When there are high levels of the H3N2 strain circulating, there tends to be more severe illness and a higher number of deaths.”

As of January 20, 46 people in South Carolina have died, according to DHEC. People over the age of 65 have the highest hospitalization rate and number of deaths.

Experts said the best way to prevent falling ill is by getting the flu shot. They recommend anyone six months or older should get the shot – it takes two weeks for your body to build up protection.

“We do not yet know how effective this year’s vaccine will be, but the message is still the same – get vaccinated now,” Dr. Foo said.

Many local providers, including doctors’ offices, pharmacies, college health centers, schools, and workplaces, are still offering flu vaccines. Flu vaccines are also offered at DHEC Health Department clinics by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or click here, to find the clinic closest to you.

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