Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The lab at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has discovered the flu bug is back in South Carolina.
"Our agency's Bureau of Laboratories has confirmed three cases in the first official week of the new flu season," said Jennifer Meredith, Ph.D., of DHEC's Division of Microbiology.
"The confirmation of flu in our state reinforces the need for vaccination against this dangerous illness," said Linda Bell, M.D. and interim state epidemiologist. "We recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age or older. Vaccination remains the single best way to prevent the flu.
"Flu season typically peaks in February in South Carolina. But you should get vaccinated as soon as possible to give your body time to strengthen its natural resistance to the virus before you are exposed," Dr. Bell said. "We strongly recommend flu vaccine for anyone who wants to reduce their risk from flu and its complications."
Typical signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- A sudden onset of fever
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion or stuffiness
You should check with your health care provider to find out if they have flu shots available, and the cost.
There are also DHEC clinics offering the vaccine, with a cost of $25, and is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, with proof of eligibility. Flu vaccine is also provided to eligible children and adolescents through the CDC's Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and the state vaccine program at many doctors' offices, community health centers and DHEC county public health departments.
Persons with insurance coverage for the flu vaccine should seek a provider who can bill their insurance plan.
Starting with the 2013-14 flu season, DHEC clinics will focus their limited resources on residents who are uninsured, underinsured, or cannot receive their vaccination elsewhere.