CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The numbers of reported flu cases are on a steady rise across the nation. According the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 22 people have died in the state since September.
New numbers released Thursday show Charleston County has the highest number of cases anywhere in the state. Roper Hospital said its flu cases have increased about 20 percent since mid December. Now their goal is to keep their patients away from sick visitors.
If you are sick and you have to visit a patient, the hospital will provide you with a flu kit. It has Kleenex, sanitary wipes and a mask that they will ask you to wear.
Doctor Anc Clarkson of Roper Hospital said your hands play a major role in keeping you healthy.
"Flu is a nasty virus when it's inside your body but it's quite fragile when it's outside your body, so routine hand washing will get rid of the flu off of your hands," said Clarkson.
He recommends you wash your hands with soap for 30-45 seconds and to be sure they are completely dry when you are done.
Clarkson said the young, elderly and ill are most at risk and should take more precautions
"For folks who know that they are being exposed to other folks with the flu need to practice routine hygiene, aggressive hand washing and preventing transmission through objects, toys and door knobs. Clean everything," Clarkson said.
It's never too late to get vaccinated. The shot takes about 2 weeks to take full effect and the earlier you get it, the better.
Clarkson said, "people who have not been vaccinated really do need to be vaccinated and that's the case every year."
Flu vaccinations can be given as early as 6 months of age.