SC health department calls for flu shot as cases rise

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) – South Carolina’s latest weekly influenza report places the state in “widespread influenza activity,” according to the state’s health department.

This is why the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging people to get the flu shot as the number of cases increases.

The latest available report, for the week ending Dec. 11, lists 775 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, DHEC said.

“While last year may have been an anomaly due to COVID-19, this year’s numbers are still significantly higher than the numbers we saw before the pandemic,” the deputy state epidemiologist said , Dr. Jane Kelly.

In the same week last year, the state reported just 50 cases.

Weekly influenza reports from the start of the season show higher numbers than in the past two years, the agency said.

“We know there has been talk of a ‘twindemic’ with COVID and the flu, and it’s the last thing we want to see in South Carolina and the rest of the country,” Kelly said. “We therefore strongly encourage all eligible people to get the flu shot, as well as their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. “

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The average flu season usually runs from September to May and peaks from December to February.

Since the flu and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms, anyone with symptoms such as fever or chills, cough or sore throat should get tested, as testing is the only way to confirm the disease. one person. If a person with these symptoms is negative for COVID-19, they can ask their health care provider to be tested for the flu.

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.

“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 vaccinations if we are to get through this pandemic and flu season with as few severe cases and deaths as possible. “

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