CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dozens of people have died from the flu in South Carolina so far this flu season and close to 2,000 people have been hospitalized. Doctors in the Lowcountry are concerned about the severity of the flu.
"In our four offices in the month of December we saw over 1,000 flu cases," said Henry Spradlin, Physician Assistant and Operator at Health First in West Ashley.
In fact, Charleston County ranks among the worst in the state with confirmed flu cases this season. Experts are saying the flu is nothing to joke about.
"You get severe symptoms and you can die within 24 hours if you don't get help immediately," said Spradlin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the flu shot isn't working all too well this season. The virus has mutated causing concern for many doctors.
"So on top of a vaccine that is not working so well, you have a strain of the flu that is being passed around with very little to stop it," said Spradlin.
Although this season's shot isn't as effective, experts say you should still get it because it can lessen the severity of the virus' symptoms. Some people are staying away from the shot all together. Like Wayne Cupp. He got the vaccine, then got the flu.
"I got a double pneumonia actually. I got it for a week and they said I was better and then two weeks later, at the end of October, I was in the hospital for another week," said Cupp.
"You feel like you're protected and then you hear it's not working so it makes you wonder what you're money is going towards," said Gabby Lopez, a resident in Charleston.
"I had a bad reaction to it. It made me sick so this year I decided not to get the shot," said Mark Lawrence, a resident in Charleston.
While some folks are eerie about the shot, others look at it as a safety net.
"I kind of feel like it's an pneumonia prevention shot if nothing else," said Julie Wiscox, a resident in Charleston.
"Mine worked. The years that I didn't get the flu shot I got sick," said Shirley Rabens, a resident in West Ashley.
"It's a guessing game every year," said Spradlin.
To help protect yourself from getting the flu, doctors say you should wash your hands many times throughout the day, don't touch your face and stay away from people who are sick because the virus is airborne.