Friday, November 8, 2013
A Dorchester County woman’s death marks the state’s first influenza-related death of the season, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced yesterday.
The agency would not release any additional information about the woman.
Last year, 46 people across the state died from the flu, a contagious respiratory virus with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and coughing.
While most people who catch the flu experience mild illness, it can lead to hospitalization and death, especially for young children, the elderly and those affected by chronic health conditions, who are all highly vulnerable to the virus.
“The important thing is that it’s early in the season, so now is the time for prevention, prevention, prevention,” said DHEC Public Information Director Jim Beasley. “Get vaccinated now.”
While the flu is not often deadly on its own, the virus can aggravate a preexisting condition or cause pneumonia, which then may lead to death, according to the press release.
In addition to getting vaccinated, DHEC is also recommending the public remember to wash their hands frequently, avoid making contact with others who are sick, and to cover one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Flu vaccinations are available at most pharmacies, clinics and primary care physician offices.