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      Flu enters Midlands, cases down compared to last year

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- DHEC officials say flu cases in South Carolina are down compared to this time last year.

      Since the beginning of flu season in November, there has been 3,519 positive rapid tests that have been reported for influenza. This compares to 19,341 reported this time last year.

      "Last year's H1N1 virus played a major factor in flu cases, and there is very little, if any of that virus still out there," says spokesman Jim Beasley with DHEC.

      Flu season lasts until the peak of February. DHEC officials say the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines can keep you from getting sick and keep you from spreading the flu virus to others.

      There are also simple ways to protect yourself:

      -Wash your hands often with soap and water-Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze-Stay home if you feel sick until all of your symptoms have gone away-Eat a healthy dietFind out more prevention tips from the Centers from Disease Control.

      Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, why and do you plan to?

      If you're interested in getting a vaccine use the widget below from

      You can also track flu trends across the nation by clicking here.