Flu season slowed, but it could take off again
Statistics released last week indicate a downward trend, or at least a plateau, in the flu season in South Carolina, which health officials attribute to the Christmas holiday break from schools.
The statistics for the week ending Jan. 5 showed 2.12 percent of patients at physician offices had influenza-like illnesses, compared to 5.82 percent the previous week. Local school districts also reported few cases in the first days back from break, but state health officials expect those numbers will be on the rise again in the coming weeks.
Of course, even when the percentages drop, people who come down with the flu are hurting. The number of people hospitalized with lab-confirmed flu the week ending Jan. 5 dropped from 229 to 198, and the number of flu-related deaths that week was three, bringing the season total to 22.
The best defense against the flu is immunization. Flu shots are available at physician offices, clinics and many pharmacies.