DHEC confirms first flu death in SC

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"Unfortunately we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in SC".

"We can not predict just how severe a flu season is going to be, but a lot more cases are being reported than in previous years", said County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

According to the health department, the individual who died had other medical conditions that put them at increased risk of severe complications from the flu.

"But even healthy people can have serious complications from the flu", she said.

While health experts urge everyone six months and older to get vaccinated every year, they say it's especially important for pregnant women, children younger than five, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.

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Adults aged 65 and older may be interested in a flu vaccine that is specially formatted for older adults.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses.

Workers at the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center are emphasizing the need for Native Americans to get flu shots. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop. Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness.

"Flu vaccine is available from many local providers - including doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, DHEC health departments, schools, and workplaces", Dr. Foo said. When tissues are not readily available, cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.