CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The manufacturer of a smart thermometer says the Palmetto State is the second-sickest state in America in the latest weekly rankings.
Kinsa, which manufacturers a smart thermometer used by more than one million people, said Georgia is the sickest state based on data received from temperature measurements.
The company's data shows that Georgia's illness rate is seven percent, compared to a national average of 5.6 percent ill. South Carolina's illness rate is 6.7 percent, and Alabama is in third place at 6.6 percent, according to Kinsa spokesperson Nita Nehru.
Charleston's illness rate is double the level from the same time last year and shows a 20 percent increase over last week, she said.
The company reported 35,000 temperature readings and 22,000 symptom inputs each day, which it uses to understand where and when the illness is spreading nationally, she said. It then releases weekly data showing which states are reporting the most illness.
The Centers for Disease Control said during a press briefing on Friday that a total of 53 children who have died of the flu so far this season.
CDC acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the organization continues to recommend the flu vaccine even though they know most have a "low effectiveness" against H3N2 viruses that are circulating this season.
"The vaccine may also reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the flu in spite of being vaccinated, and it is not too late to get the vaccine," Schuchat said. "Viral infections like flu can make people more vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections and we recommend people 65 years of age and over get vaccinated against a common pneumonia caused by pneumococcus. You also can reduce your risk of getting the flu through everyday measures. Please stay home if you are sick to help prevent spreading respiratory viruses to others."
On Tuesday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said it would wave the $25 administrative fee for people who wanted to get the flu shot at its state clinics.
Anyone who wants a flu shot can call 855-472-3432 to set up an appointment at a DHEC clinic.