Medical experts: Flu can strike twice

Flu vaccine (file/FOX Carolina)

Flu season is underway and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the state's first flu-related death this season.

"When Flu season hits, you know it, people come in and all of them have the relatively same symptoms," explained Emergency MD nurse, Shiva Miraj.

According to medical experts with Emergency MD and Greenville Health System, this flu season is starting off slow.

""Flu is increasing in the community," said Dr. Robin Lacroix with GHS, "We're seeing more cases in children and adults."

Despite the slow flu season start, it's been a tragic season. DHEC officials said an individual from the Upstate was the first lab-confirmed, flu-associated death of the season. Young children, pregnant women, people over age 65 and those with chronic health conditions are at high risk for flu complications.

"Unfortunately we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in South Carolina," said DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant Dr. Teresa Foo.

According to the most resent DHEC statistics, there have been 107 influenza cases and 7 people have been hospitalized in recent weeks. There have also been 5 cases reported in Greenville County and 4 in Spartanburg County.

Foo said since common flu strains change every year, it is important to get the current vaccine each flu season.

"Flu activity is unpredictable each year, so we need to prepare for several months of the virus circulating in our communities," she said.

Dr. Lacroix said there was still time to get your flu shot before the season picks up. The flu shot protects your body against the virus for 180 days.

Health officials from AnMed and Spartanburg Regional Hospital also said they are seeing a slow start to the flu season.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, the following precautionary measures are suggested: 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.HEALTH NEWS: Half of US adults have high blood pressure in new guidelines

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