Number of flu cases in South Carolina steadily on the rise

DHEC says nearly 100 people have already been hospitalized this flu season

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —More and more people across the state are starting to come down with the flu.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says nearly 100 people have been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms already this year.

“We had our first flu-associated death that was reported in the Upstate a few weeks ago, and unfortunately, we likely will have more,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, a Medical Consultant for Immunizations at DHEC.

According to DHEC, more than 400 people, mostly those over the age of 50, have died as a result of flu-related illnesses over the past three years.

This year, 97 people have already had to go to the hospital with flu-like symptoms, up from 86 at this point last year.

Dr. Foo says the best tool to fight off the flu could be found at your doctor’s office or at your local pharmacy.

“A flu vaccine is the best protection even though it is not 100% effective, it’s still the best protection that we have, especially for those at a higher risk in our communities,” Dr. Foo said.

Dr. Foo says this protection is vital, especially if you’re spending the holiday weekend with family and friends.

“You don’t want to be spreading any illness at your holiday dinners, so it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine now. It does take two weeks to build up protection after you get the vaccine, but it’s not too late to protect yourself and your family,” Dr. Foo said.

DHEC’s most recent Flu Watch report says Richland and Kershaw Counties have reported cases of the flu that are currently higher than the state average. This is the first week, according to DHEC, where “widespread” flu activity has been detected this flu season.

The department will release their newest update on the flu situation across the state Wednesday.

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