The flu season has officially arrived in South Carolina. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed five cases of influenza in the Midlands area of the state.
State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell says the confirmation reinforces the need to get vaccinated against the disease. The flu vaccine is recommended for persons six months of age or older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the flu as a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Symptoms may include muscle aches, headache, dry cough, sore throat, tiredness, and nasal congestion.
Also you can help reduce the chance of spreading the flu and other viruses by taking the simple steps of “covering your mouth when you cough with a tissue or your sleeve , washing your hands often and staying home if you get sick” Dr. Bell says. She also suggests that persons should eat healthy and get plenty of rest and exercise.
In the United States, the flu season is considered October through May. It usually peaks in February.