The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that influenza is widespread in South Carolina.

“One of the most important things parents can do to protect their families and others in the community is getting the influenza vaccination,” said Anna-Kathryn Burch, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. “Even though the flu season is underway, there is still time to get your flu shot. While the effectiveness of flu vaccines varies from season to season, studies show the vaccine reduces the impact of the flu on the overall population.”

In addition, she offers these tips:

What can you do to prevent flu?

Wash hands properly and frequently. Alcohol-based cleaners also are effective.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash immediately after you use it, then wash hands thoroughly.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

How can you recognize the flu?

The flu virus can leave you sick for five to seven days and can cause some very uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever that can be high

 

Protect your family

“When parents opt out of having their children vaccinated, that sets the stage for disease rates to rise. If it were not for vaccines, we would see many more cases of infectious diseases,” said Burch.