‘The flu season came early this year:’ South Carolina sees increase in flu cases

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2022 at 7:21 PM EST
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HILTON HEAD, Sc. (WTOC) - The Southeast is seeing higher flu numbers than the rest of the country right now, with South Carolina getting hit worse than most.

“The flu season came early this year. It came about six weeks earlier than what we would usually expect,” said Dr. Andrew Krieger, an emergency medicine physician.

The CDC influenza map shows dark purple over South Carolina indicating the highest level of activity in the U.S. Dr. Andrew Kreiger at Coastal Carolina Hospital says that advanced schedule has combined with a few other factors.

“Compared to previous years, our flu vaccine rate is much lower than where we would be at this point in the year.”

Of all the charts and numbers from state or federal agencies, he says a comparison to the average year tells this story best.

”We would expect around this time in the year to average about 3.6% of health care visits to be related to a flu like illness, around this time right now we’re averaging around 11%.”

The emergency physician says other countries have made it through their peaks quickly, which should be a good sign for us. He also has recommendations that may sound familiar, on how you can keep you and your family safe.

“Make sure that you’re covering any sort of a cough, wash your hands, but the best thing you can do is get the vaccine.”

At Hilton Head Regional, he said this year’s vaccine is well matched to current strains of influenza and should prevent severe illness in 40 to 60% of cases.