COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State health officials say a Dorchester County woman is the first person in South Carolina to die from the flu this season.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Thursday that the woman was the first lab-confirmed, influenza-associated death of the season. No other details about her were given.
Emergency physician Geoffrey Renk says it's difficult to see people die from a disease that is largely preventable, and he says flu vaccination is in the public's best interest.
"Nothing is ever 100 percent. You can be vaccinated and not get complete immunity and still contract it, but it greatly lowers the likelihood that that's going to happen."
Twenty-seven year old Allison Wilfong was vaccinated today. She says hearing about this season's first flu death encouraged her to take care of it.
"Even if you're somebody that's healthy, if you get the flu, if you could give it to somebody else that's not necessarily as healthy as you, that's just not a very courteous thing to do."
DHEC says there were 46 flu-related deaths in South Carolina last flu season and 1,720 flu-associated hospitalizations.
State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell says getting vaccinated is important for everyone six months and older and points out that it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to build up in someone's body in order to prevent the flu.
Bell says flu activity typically peaks in February in South Carolina.