Flu season in South Carolina has been particularly problematic so far.
Fifteen influenza-related deaths have been reported through Jan. 6 in the Palmetto State, and seven of those deaths took place in the Midlands, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The first week of January also marked the fourth week in a row that widespread flu activity has been reported. And it’s spreading fast.
DHEC’s latest week-to-week report states that the number of cases went up by 1,395, or 40.6 percent, when compared to the previous week. There have been 17,004 cases statewide since the season started.
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The spread of the flu has led to an increase hospitalizations by 125 or 87 percent, according to DHEC. It also has contributed to packed hospital emergency rooms in the Upstate, the Herald-Journal reported.
Officials at the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System told the paper that some emergency room patients are being treated in the hallway or the trauma unit because there’s nowhere else to place them.
Hospitals in York, Chester and Lancaster counties also are restricting visits from children younger than 12 after seeing an increase in flu cases, The Herald reported. Those with respiratory distress symptoms are being asked not to visit at all.
DHEC continues to urge individuals to get a flu vaccine to help curb the influenza virus. The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up the body’s defenses against the 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.
Cynthia Roldán: @CynthiaRoldan
by the numbers
15: Deaths statewide during the flu season so far
7: Deaths of the 15 in the Midlands
4: Deaths of the 15 in the Pee Dee
3: Deaths of the 15 in the Upstate
1: Death of the 15 confirmed in the Lowcountry
7: Deaths statewide reported during the same time in 2017
6: Deaths statewide reported during the same time in 2016
17,004: Influenza cases reported in S.C. this season