The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, weekly influenza surveillance report found the flu is widespread in practically every state.
Kathy Bryant, Manager of Infection Prevention Acute Care Services at Spartanburg Health System, said South Carolina isn’t any worse or better compared to other states with the influenza virus.
Bryant says what is a noteable difference is the flu season’s start time. Here in the southeastern region of the U.S. the season starts later, around December and ends mid to late March.
However, that dosen’t mean the season couldn’t start or end differently. Bryant says data shows the flu season seems to have already peaked back in Januray, but there is a chance for another, smaller peak in, March.
The SCDHEC data shows a decrease in flu like activity this week. Bryant said overall, because of the SCDHEC’s influenza hospitalization numbers, this season is turning out to be mild.
In the Upstate, there have been cases where schools closed due to widespread sickness. This forced school administrators to shutdown schools inorder to disinfect the buildings.
Bryant agreed that it’s not ideal to miss work or school, but not staying away just leads to more sick people.
She said it’s ideal to keep your hands washed, avoid sick people, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and get a flu shot.
“The flu vaccine is not an absolute. However, we do find that when you’re vaccineated, if you do get the flu, you can lessen your symptoms sometimes by half of the duration. So, instead of being sick and out of commission for seven to ten days. You might only be sick for three to five days and that’s a benifit,” Bryant said.
The CDC data notes pregnant women, young children and the elderly are highly encouraged to get the flu shot. They are more likely to get flu complications, for example pneumonia or bronchitis, which could result in hospitalization and sometimes death.
For more information about this year’s flu season, click here.