State health officials monitoring flu outbreak - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

State health officials monitoring flu outbreak

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

More time at the sink washing your hands and keeping your distance from others, might just keep you from catching the one thing everyone seems to be sharing right now: the flu.

At Lexington Family Practice Northeast, they're seeing a lot of patients fighting the seasonal illness.

"Lots of flu, lots of bronchitis, just tons of illness, flu, non-flu viral, bronchitis sinusitis, lots of sick people," said Dr. Michael Nunnery with the practice.

State Health officials were watching a flu outbreak before the holidays hit.

"We were monitoring a number of school outbreaks just prior to the Christmas holidays," said DHEC's Dr. Linda Bell.

If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, DHEC officials say it's not too late. There's plenty of the vaccine still available. Doctors say this year's shot does protect for many of the strains patients have tested positive for. Still, some that got the vaccine also got the flu.

"Just for some reason it hasn't been quite the same protection it has been in the past," said Nunnery.

Pharmacists say they've seen an increase in Tamiflu prescription, but it only lessens the symptoms if you catch them in the first 48 hours.

"I just recommend lots of rest, lots of fluids to prevent dehydration, and I tell patients if there's no medical reason not to have Tylenol or Motrin to alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 3 to 4 hours to keep something in their system," said Nunnery.

While hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes is helpful, it's tough to guard against the flu because you never know when you might be exposed to the virus.

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