South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported an individual in the Upstate has become the state’s first flu death for the season which began in October.
In a press release, DHEC said the cause of death was confirmed by a lab to be flu-related complications.
The agency is urging residents to get vaccinated before the season gets fully underway in December or January. Those at highest risk for complications are young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart or lung disease.
During the past season, DHEC said 94 South Carolinians died from the flu.
DHEC advises that even healthy people can contract complications from the flu. That’s why the department is urging everyone older than 6 months old to get the flu vaccine.
In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccination, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following everyday preventive measures:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, use the crook of your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or find the clinic location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider near you, go to flushot.healthmap.org.