The flu has arrived in South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed Monday.
Five cases of the flu in the Midlands have been confirmed, said Linda Bell, M.D. and state epidemiologist.
"Vaccination remains the single best way to prevent the spread of flu," Bell said. "We recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age or older."
"Flu season typically peaks in February in South Carolina," Bell said. "But you should get vaccinated as soon as possible to give your body time to strengthen its natural resistance to the virus before you are exposed."
Influenza is a naturally occurring viral disease that causes respiratory infections. Symptoms may include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat and nasal congestion or stuffiness.
"You can help reduce the chance of spreading flu and other viruses by covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, washing your hands often and staying home if you get sick," Bell said. "Another good idea is to live healthy – eat properly and get plenty of exercise and rest."
To learn where and when influenza vaccine will be offered in your area, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/flu/clinic-options.htm.
More information about influenza in South Carolina can be found at http://www.scdhec.gov/flu.