It may be the end of November and just days before Thanksgiving, but if you didn’t know any better judging from the weather outside, you’d guess it was still September. But, one tell-tale sign winter is upon us: The Influenza virus, has reared its ugly head to let us all know that it’s that season again.A report by ABC News 4 says influenza, or “the flu,” has officially arrived in South Carolina, and the first reported case comes from just down the road in Lexington, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.
“We’ve confirmed the Influenza B virus in a 5-year-old child from Lexington County,” said Jennifer Meredith, Ph.D., of DHEC’s Division of Microbiology. “The flu case was confirmed through our annual statewide laboratory-based influenza surveillance program that includes partnerships with volunteer private practice physician offices, hospitals, colleges and nursing homes.”
“The confirmation of flu in our state reinforces the need for vaccination against this dangerous illness,” said Jerry Gibson, M.D., director of DHEC’s Bureau of Disease Control. “The vaccine is recommended for everyone six months of age or older. It remains the single best way to prevent the flu.
“Flu season typically peaks in February in South Carolina. But you should get vaccinated as soon as possible to give your body time to strengthen its natural resistance to the virus before you’re exposed,” Dr. Gibson said. “We strongly recommend flu vaccine for anyone who wants to reduce their risk from flu and its complications.”
Influenza is a naturally occurring viral disease that causes respiratory infections. Symptoms may include:
* A sudden onset of fever
* Dry cough
* Muscle aches
* Sore throat
* Nasal congestion or stuffiness.
“You can reduce the chance of spreading flu and other viruses by covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, washing your hands often and staying home if you get sick,” Dr. Gibson said. “It’s never too late to get vaccinated against the flu.”