MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Have you been feeling a little under the weather recently? A recent study from health technology company, Kinsa, ranked South Carolina as the sickest state in the country.
Kinsa is monitoring the spread of flu-like illness in real time with the help of their smart thermometers. Kinsa reported 4.3 percent of South Carolina’s population are experiencing flu-like symptoms. To put that number into perspective, that’s nearly 176,000 people. This represents an 89 percent increase over this time last year. Right now, Kinsa reports Charleston as the country’s sickest city, with nearly 42,000 residents claiming they have flu-like symptoms.
Doctors at Conway Medical Center say in Horry County, it's been a quiet start to the flu season and haven't seen too much activity so far.
“Now here locally, we have not really seen that much activity. Only in November, we only had eight positive flu swabs at Conway Medical Center, so we haven’t really seen that yet. But usually it’s not as uncommon for this area. Our higher season is probably going to be a little bit later on, kind of like it was you know, this past year,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported six flu-related deaths in our state so far this year.
Dr. Richardson said in November, they had eight positive flu tests at CMC. Dr. Richardson said the number one thing you can do this year is to get vaccinated, along with practicing good hygiene.
During the winter, a common misconception is the cold temperatures will get you sick. But doctors say it's not so much the cold weather itself that spreads germs. It's staying inside in close quarters that increases the risk of viruses spreading.
“Well number one thing is when you think about flu, you think about fever. You think about sometimes you get upper respiratory symptoms, some people can get GI symptoms. Not necessarily, but the true flu can have some nausea, vomiting, diarrhea on occasion. Your healthcare provider can do an easy swab to let you know. There are some medications that help shorten the course of the flu. It’s not going to “cure” it, but it can definitely shorten the course of the disease process,” said Dr. Richardson.
Doctors also say if you do experience symptoms of the flu, try to limit your exposure to others to risk spreading the virus. You can still get your flu shots now at your local pharmacy or doctor’s office. Just remember it does take roughly two weeks to kick in after you receive it.