Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina's health agency is confirming the first flu-related death in the state of the current season.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said Tuesday the death happened in the Upstate, and was the first lab-confirmed death.
The people at greatest risk for life-threatening flu complications are young children, pregnant women, people 65 years or older, and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease.
"But even healthy people can have serious complications from the flu," she said. "That is why it is so important for everyone six months and older to get the flu vaccine every year. It is the best way to prevent the flu," said Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC's immunization medical consultant.
Flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion and stuffiness.
In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccination, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following everyday preventive measures:
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, use the crook of your elbow.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to www.scdhec.gov/flu/fluclinics to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider near you, go to flushot.healthmap.org