Flu expected to hit hard in South Carolina

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Doctors and nurses across the state of South Carolina are gearing up for what they expect to be a busy flu season.

Roper St. Francis nurse Kaitlin O'Brien waited until the last minute to get her required flu shot as a hospital employee. O'Brien says, required or not, she would get the shot.

"It's taking the necessary step to prevent the preventable," she said.{}

Nurse Darla Weir said she has administered 95 shots since the clinic opened its doors Thursday morning.

"For some folks, they just really didn't want to do it. They don't like shots or injections, so they put it off to the very last minute," Weir said.

Weir said people should get over their fear of needles because the South Carolina Department of Heath and Environmental Control is predicting more cases of the flu this season.

"We've had an increase in the state. We're not in the Roper St. Francis emergency department seeing any levels greater than normal," said Dr. Rebecca Rupp.

Rupp said they are seeing typical symptoms, including a fever, runny nose, cough, congestion, body aches and the overall fatigued feelings.

Rupp said the flu can spread before people show symptoms.

"It takes about two weeks actually for the vaccine to be able to protect you, so the earlier the better," Rupp said.

She said people can also prevent the spread of the virus by washing their hands, avoiding touching their faces, staying away from sick people and not coming to work or school if they are sick.

Flu season begins in October but usually peaks in February.