SC health department urges flu shot as cases rise
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s latest weekly flu report places the state in “widespread flu activity,” the state health department says.
That’s why the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging people to get vaccinated against the flu as the number of cases increase.
The latest available report, for the week ending Dec. 11, reported 775 lab-confirmed flu cases, DHEC said.
“While last year may have been an anomaly due to COVID-19, this year’s numbers are still significantly higher than numbers we saw pre-pandemic,” Assistant State Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly said.
During the same week last year, the state reported just 50 cases.
Weekly flu reports from earlier this season show higher numbers than in the past two years, the agency says.
“We know there have been talks of a ‘twindemic’ with COVID and the flu, and that’s the last thing we want to see in South Carolina and throughout the rest of nation,” Kelly said. “So we strongly encourage all eligible people to get their flu shots, as well as their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.”
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The average flu season usually runs from September to May and peaks from December through February.
Because the flu and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms, anyone with symptoms such as fever or chills, coughing, or sore throat should get tested, as testing is the only way to confirm what illness a person has. If a person with these symptoms tests negative for COVID-19, they can talk to their health care provider about getting a flu test.
For those who have not had either of the two, it is safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.
DHEC says it takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to respond for full protection.
“Both the COVID-19 vaccine, and the flu shot, are the most effective ways to prevent severe cases of both viruses,” Kelly said. “We need everyone on board for these life-saving immunizations if we’re going to get through this pandemic and flu season with as few severe cases and deaths as possible.”
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