COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said Thursday that lab results had confirmed South Carolina’s first flu-associated death of the season.
"Sadly, an individual from the Lowcountry region has died from complications due to the flu," said Dr. Lilian Peake, DHEC director of public health in a news release. "This is our first lab-confirmed, influenza-associated death of the season. Unfortunately, we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in South Carolina."
Peake said people at the highest risk of serious flu complications include young children; pregnant women; people age 65 and older; and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease. But even healthy people can have serious complications from the flu, she said. That is why it is so important for everyone six months and older to get the flu vaccine every year. It is the best way to prevent the flu.
Peake said the best protection against the flu is an annual flu vaccine. The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up your body's protection against the virus."
In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccination, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following everyday preventive 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.