This flu season continues to inflict severe damage in South Carolina.
In the past week, the number of reported flu-related deaths has continued to rise, as 22 more deaths have been reported by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
This flu season, a total of 106 influenza-associated deaths reported by DHEC, which said that South Carolina reported widespread activity this week. This is the eighth week at widespread activity.
Among the reported deaths, seniors 65 and older have been the most vulnerable this season, with 77 fatalities in that age group. In patients between 50 and 64 years old, 17 deaths have been reported, while 12 people between the ages of 18 and 49 have died from the flu this season.
A total of 518 flu-associated hospitalizations were reported by 49 hospitals this season, with in the past week.
This week, 356 lab-confirmed cases and 18,370positive rapid flu detection tests were reported by public health and clinical labs bringing the season totals to 1,901 and 79,170 respectively.
Richland County has had 2,015 reported cases of the flu, second most in S.C. behind Greenville (3,316). There have been 1,393cases reported in Lexington County, and 144 in Kershaw County.
It’s been so bad that Palmetto Health hospitals joined other hospitals across the country in restricting visitors in an effort to curb the spread of the flu.
Palmetto Health has also used a temporary mobile medical unit to help expedite patient discharges
The Palm Beach Post reported that high humidity can deter the spread of the flu, because “water in the air encapsulates airborne viruses, making them heavy, and causing them to fall to the ground more quickly.”
DHEC continues to urge individuals to get a flu vaccine to help curb the influenza virus. The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up the body’s defenses against the virus.
Symptoms of the flu can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat and nasal congestion or stuffiness, according to DHEC.
Staff writer Cynthia Roldán contributed to this report.