First flu death of season confirmed in SC

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - The first flu death of the season in South Carolina has been confirmed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

On Tuesday, state health officials announced that a person in the Upstate has died from flu-related complications.

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

Foo said people 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 or heart or lung disease.

“But, even healthy people can have serious complications from the flu,” said Dr. Foo. “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.”

Flu vaccines are offered at DHEC Health Department clinics and are available by appointment. Health officials say the vaccine takes about two weeks to build up your body's protection against the virus.

In addition to getting an annual flu vaccination, DHEC officials offer some other preventive measures:

- 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.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. You can call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment. Click here to find the location closest to you.

You can also find non-DHEC flu vaccine providers near you here.

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