South Carolina hospitals seeing spike in flu cases

HARDEEVILLE, SC (WTOC) - South Carolina is experiencing a high number of flu and influenza-like illnesses. That's according to the Center For Disease Control's most recent flu report.

It's not just across the state, flu season is picking up in our area too. Reporter Macey Lauren spoke with a local infection preventionist Tuesday and has more on how to keep you and your family healthy this time of year.

Coastal Carolina Hospital has seen a definite spike in flu cases coming through their doors. They've received six in the past week, usually, they only see one or two this time of year.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can range from mild, like a common cold, to severe and even deadly.  Symptoms include fevers, coughing, chills, sore throat, congestion, and muscle aches. It's different from a cold because symptoms come on suddenly.

Registered Nurse Linda Julian says if you think you might have a case of the flu, it's best to go to your primary health care doctor right away for treatment. Do not visit the hospital since it can spread quickly to patients.

She also says the key to staying healthy is knowing how to properly wash your hands.

"It's the rubbing of the hands and between fingers, the knuckles, fingernails,  the backs of the hands, and the wrists with either the sanitizer or lots of soap and water. And they always recommend you sing the 'happy birthday' song because it's really 15-20 seconds of that contact that's gonna help kill those microorganisms," said Linda Julian, RN, Infection Preventionist.

Now again, healthcare officials here at the hospital want to remind everyone that it's not too late to get those flu shots. Flu season actually runs until the end of March, sometimes into early April, depending on how severe it can be.

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