Latest SC flu statistics have doctors concerned

Latest SC flu statistics have doctors concerned

It's the time of year when the flu is supposed to be slowing down, but the State Department of Health says the latest numbers show otherwise.

One person died this week from influenza in the state and many doctors offices are still packed with sick patients, especially in Charleston.

"The flu does still kill people," said Doctor Karey Breen with Medcare Urgent Care in North Charleston. 

Doctors like Breen don't like to look at the numbers. Seven people have died this year in Charleston County from the flu. Compared to the rest of South Carolina, it's one of the worst hit counties in the state.

"The way that people live in the city and the city life just makes it easier for the virus to spread," said Breen. 

This flu season, 142 people have died in our state, compared to just 78 last season. 

"It's scary to hear about those deaths and it's intimidating to patients because they're wondering, 'How sick am I?'" said Breen.

"It concerns me because I'm at the age where I can catch the flu myself and possibly die," said Richard Wilkins, a resident in Charleston. 

Wilkins is right on the money. Folks 65 and older and infants are the most at risk for getting hit hard with the virus.

"I remember one year I got it and I was down for like three weeks and I lost about 30 pounds," said Wilkins. 

"We are very busy and we are busier than normal for this time of year," said Breen.

Morgan Bartha has been sick with the flu for a week.  

"I got it from by boyfriend and that was my own fault. I didn't get the flu shot. It's spreading through school quickly. I go to the Art Institute," said Bartha.

"When it comes to getting your flu shot, you're better safe than sorry," said Vernee Pryor, a resident in Charleston. 

Doctors agree, although the vaccine is only about 25% effective this year.

"I hope next year will be a better year for influenza," said Breen. 

The season typically begins in September and ends between March and April, but doctors say they're expecting to see some flu cases even carry through to the summer.

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