Health & Fitness

Death toll rises in SC where flu activity continues to be widespread, DHEC reports

Do your part to stop the spread of flu at home

What actions—apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine—can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?
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What actions—apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine—can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?

The death toll from flu-related illnesses rose in South Carolina last week, as widespread activity continued, according to a report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC.

Four more deaths were reported by DHEC. That brings the total of influenza-associated deaths to 29 for the current flu season, which is now in its sixth consecutive week at widespread activity, according to the report.

Among the deaths reported by DHEC, seniors 65 and older have been the most vulnerable this season, with 15 fatalities in that age group. In patients between 50 and 64 years old, 10 deaths have been reported, while two people between the ages of 18 and 49 have died from the flu this season. Two children younger than 4 years old have also died this flu season.

A total of 1,101 flu-associated hospitalizations were reported by 41 hospitals this season, with 183 hospital stays coming in the past week, according to DHEC.

This week, “49 lab-confirmed cases” were reported by DHEC, bringing the season total to 1,290.

While reports of the flu remain widespread, the good news from DHEC is that there “was a decrease in influenza activity this week.”

DHEC continues to urge individuals to get a flu vaccine to help curb the influenza 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.

Last year, South Carolina had almost 3,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths, McClatchy reported. On average, about 70 people die each year from the flu.

Do you know the symptoms of the flu and how to prevent it? Dr. Teresa Foo with SC DHEC breaks down the basics of the flu.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

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