2013-10-02 / LifeStyles

DHEC confirms flu’s arrival in S.C.

COLUMBIA – Influenza, or “the flu,” has officially arrived in South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported.

“Our agency’s Bureau of Laboratories has confirmed five cases of flu in the Midlands area of the state,” said Linda Bell, M.D. and state epidemiologist. “This confirmation reinforces the need for vaccination and the good sense steps to prevent the spread of the flu virus.

“We recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age or older,” Dr. Bell said. “Flu season typically peaks in February in South Carolina. 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. We strongly recommend flu vaccine for anyone who wants to reduce their risk from flu and its complications.”

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.

There are many flu vaccine providers in local communities across South Carolina to serve people with health insurance and those who have the ability to pay for the vaccine. DHEC asks that individuals with Medicare, Medicaid or other type of health insurance coverage for the flu vaccine visit their health care provider or local pharmacy to get a flu shot.

DHEC will focus its resources on providing flu shots to people who are uninsured, under-insured and those who cannot receive a flu vaccine anywhere else. The Cherokee County Health Department, 400 S. Logan St., offers flu shots Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., appointments only, call 649-8038. The cost of the seasonal flu shot is $25. Do not let cost prevent you from getting a flu shot.

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