WCSC reported the scary news that the CDC says South Carolina has the highest number of flu cases in the country. DHEC Lead Medical Consultant Dr. Martha Buchanan said the state has recorded at least 12 flu deaths this year. On Dec. 12, the state confirmed its first child flu-related death.
“So we can’t, as public health professionals or as a community of people make the mistake of not taking the flu seriously, and taking all of these other illnesses seriously seriously as well,” Buchanan said.
While most people who get the flu, COVID or Respiratory Syncytial Virus will have symptoms and recover, vulnerable adults in long term care facilities must be protected because they can become very sick and die. The people most at risk for the illnesses include infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions.
“Complications can occur even among young and previously healthy people and can’t be predicted it can’t be predicted who will really suffer severe illness just by looking at the person,” she said.
The flu season coincides with ongoing COVID-19 cases and an elevated number of RSV cases. The same preventive methods that protect against COVID-19 also protect against the flu virus: vaccination, masks, frequent handwashing, and staying home or away from others while sick.
“We’ve been seeing elevated cases of RSV this season,” she said. “An estimated 60,000 to 160,000 older adults in the United States are hospitalized and 6,000 to 10,000 died due to RSV infection each year. Those are kinds of staggering numbers. We don’t — I don’t think people take RSV as seriously sometimes we should.”