COLUMBIA — The flu season is upon us and now is the time to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from the viral disease, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.
DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at increased risk of complications from flu, including young children, adults aged 50 years and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic medical conditions, like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Even if you got vaccinated last year, you should do so again this year because protection provided by last season's vaccine decreases over time; also, the flu vaccine is updated each year to keep up with changing flu viruses.
"The flu vaccine is still the best way to prevent serious illness this fall and winter," said Teresa Foo MD, MPH, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant. "You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in the community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. South Carolinians should act now to protect themselves and their families."
"Flu vaccine is available from many local providers-including doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces," Dr. Foo said. "Beginning October 16, DHEC county public health departments will also be offering flu vaccine."
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms may include a sudden onset of fever, cough, headache or muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat and nasal congestion or stuffiness. The flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.