The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a sharp increase in cases of influenza in their most recent report, published this week, and South Carolina is one of 21 states reporting a high amount of flu-like activity.
The Palmetto State is also one of 36 states where the flu is reportedly widespread, according to the CDC. Georgia is also on that list, while in North Carolina the flu is thus far only a regional issue.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting that more than 75 cases of the flu were reported in Beaufort County last week. By comparison, Jasper County reported between 26 and 50, and Colleton County reported between zero and 25.
Last week, from Sunday, Dec. 17 to Saturday, Dec. 23, represented the second week in a row of widespread flu activity in the state according to DHEC.
So far this flu season there have been 382 confirmed hospitalizations associated with the flu in South Carolina, DHEC reports, and eight deaths.
Over 8,000 cases of influenza have already been confirmed throughout the state since the start of flu season, DHEC said. Between last week’s report and the one from the week prior, there was an increase in cases reported of nearly 1,500, which is a jump of roughly 94 percent week to week.
As the flu rears its head in the state and in Beaufort County in particular, you might consider getting vaccinated, and following some other recommended safety precautions.
Besides getting vaccinated, Mary Scott, corporate director of quality and infection control with Beaufort Memorial Hospital, recommends preventative measures such as coughing into your elbow, and most importantly washing your hands.
“Washing your hands prior to eating, after you’ve coughed, after you’ve blown your nose after using the restroom, its very important,” said Scott. “The number one way we transmit any infection is through our hands.”