SOUTH CAROLINA (WFXG) - It's flu season and The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed its first flu-related death this season. The identity of that person has not been released.
Teresa Foo MD, MPH, a DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant, says that those at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart or lung disease. The flu is contagious. It's caused by the influenza virus and can cause mild to severe illness or even death. Symptoms can include sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness.
While folks are encouraged to get a flu vaccination, DHEC says there are additional preventive measures you can take:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, use the crook of your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Flu vaccines are offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. You can call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to www.scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider near you, go to flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about preventing the flu, visit www.scdhec.gov/flu.