State health officials recommend flu vaccine - - Columbia, South Carolina |

State health officials recommend flu vaccine

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Officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control say flu season started September 30th and already there has been one death in South Carolina -- a child from Barnwell County.

They also say flu activity has reached widespread levels in South Carolina earlier than usual. So people need to protect themselves before it's too late

A few seconds of discomfort while being vaccinated for the flu is a small price to pay if you can avoid the onset of muscle aches, fever, and a sore throat.

"It can cause mild disease all the way serious disease and even death," said Dr. Lisa Waddell with DHEC. 

Waddell said flu activity usually peaks in February but this year's early arrival means there needs to be an extra emphasis on preventative care.

"We have had only one death reported in our state this year," said Waddell.  "Certainly that is what we hope to prevent. We want to ensure that people take care of themselves, protect themselves against the flu. The best way to do that is to get the flu vaccine."

Three segments of our population that need to be especially careful are the very young, the elderly and pregnant women.

"Particularly those with chronic health conditions like a sort of respiratory condition, asthma heart disease and those sorts of things," said Waddell.

Officials also can't pinpoint why flu season has hit our state early but here's some comforting news if you are still hesitant about getting a flu shot this year:

"We can't predict form year to year what the flu season will look like and so what we do know is there is a good match with the vaccine this year," said Waddell. "Some years are better than others but this year it's a good match so that's a good thing."

For more information about getting a flu shot, call DHEC at (803) 898-3432.

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