COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday announced the state’s first flu-related death of the season.
“Sadly, an individual from the Upstate region has died from complications due to the flu, our first lab-confirmed, influenza-associated death of the season,” said Linda Bell, M.D., State Epidemiologist and DHEC’s Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control in a news release.
According to DHEC, those at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease. However, healthy people also can have serious complications from the flu.
“Unfortunately, we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in South Carolina,” said Dr. Bell. “The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, and DHEC urges everyone six months and older to be vaccinated each season.”
Along with getting your annual flu vaccine, state health officials urge South Carolinians to follow these preventative measures:
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.
Remember, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness which is caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly.