As the temperature dips in South Carolina, it’s time to get a flu vaccination, say experts with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
According to DHEC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinations are recommended annually for everyone six months or older. Those who are older than 50, pregnant or have chronic medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease are at an increased risk of complications from influenza, according to DHEC.
Even if patients were vaccinated last year, officials say they should get the vaccine again because the virus protection decreases over time and the vaccine is updated each year to keep up with changes.
“The flu vaccine is still the best way to prevent serious illness this fall and winter,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, immunization medical consultant with DHEC. “You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in the community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. South Carolinians should act now to protect themselves and their families.”
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Vaccines are typically available at local providers like doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces. DHEC’s public health departments in each county will also offer flu vaccines by Oct. 16.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness which causes symptoms including fever, cough, headache, tiredness, sore throat and nasal congestion.
DHEC York, Chester and Lancaster county health department clinics
▪ York Health Department, 116 N. Congress St., York
▪ Rock Hill Health Department, 1070 Heckle Boulevard, Rock Hill
▪ Chester County Health Department, 129 Wylie St., Chester
▪ Lancaster County Health Department, 1833 Pageland Highway, Lancaster