. - Doctors across the state say more people are coming down with the flu.
Within the last two weeks, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, flu activity has gone from "regional" to "widespread."
"This past week we've had a number of positive flu swabs in the Emergency Department. A variety of people—young, old and everything in the middle," MUSC Adult Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Gregory Hall says.
DHEC reported 3,462 cases new cases diagnosed in the last week, along with 108 hospitalizations and three lab-confirmed deaths because of the flu.
"That number has been increasing and we're concerned it will go up," Katy Richardson, Lowcountry Regional Medical Director at DHEC, says.
And while doctors expect the number to continue growing as well, it's something they prepare for every year.
"This is what we call our respiratory season, viral season… so we'll see a lot more flu in January and February," Hall says.
It's more than the flu, though. Hall says he's seen an increase in all kinds of illnesses including the common cold, strep throat, and different respiratory viruses.
"There's a virus called RSV that typically affects more kids, especially little kids, but we've seen a fair number of adults with that. It's a virus that's been known to cause a bronchitis-like condition, we call it bronchiolitis, but it's sort of like a cross between bronchitis and asthma," Hall says.
Richardson adds she's seen similar things but influenza is the most serious and the one that is preventable with the vaccine. She says it's not too late to get the flu shot and she believes it's a good match for the strand of flu going around.
To find a flu vaccine clinic, visit: http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/InfectiousDiseases/Flu/FluClinics/