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First SC flu death of season confirmed by DHEC

File Graphic / Thinkstock

Tuesday the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control announced the first flu-associated death of this year's flu season.

DHEC would not provide the age of the deceased individual, however the agency did report the death happened in the Upstate.

"Unfortunately we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in South Carolina," said Teresa Foo MD, MPH, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant.

In a press release, Dr. Foo said those at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart or 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."

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Dr. Foo describes the vaccine as a important step in protection against a virus she describes as "unpredictable."

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. For more information about preventing the flu, visit www.scdhec.gov/flu.

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