DHEC Confirms 2019 Season's First Flu-related Death in South Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that the state has suffered its first flu-associated 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.
“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.”
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.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly — especially to vulnerable people, including those with certain chronic health conditions. Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness.
In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccine, 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.
The flu vaccine is available from many providers including DHEC health departments, doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces.
Flu vaccines offered at DHEC health department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment or go to www.scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics to find the nearest location. For other vaccine providers, visit flushot.healthmap.org. More information about preventing the flu is available at www.scdhec.gov/flu.