Flu season officially arrives in Palmetto State - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Flu season officially arrives in Palmetto State

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SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The flu has officially arrived in the Palmetto State, with five cases already being reported in the Midlands. Local doctors tell WMBF News because of the number of people who travel to Myrtle Beach, we could see the flu in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee any day now. Doctors are even starting to see people walk into their offices thinking they have the flu.

Some may consider this a little early for flu activity, but DHEC Spokesman Jim Beasely says last year there were cases as soon as August, and the flu peaked earlier than usual. There was a spike in cases in December instead of the usual January or February. Last year was a pretty strong flu season: more than 1,000 people across South Carolina were hospitalized for the flu, and 46 people died.

Even though there's not an official ruling on how bad this year's season is going to be, local pharmacists say they made sure to order more vaccines. Right now there seems to be a stronger demand.

"Everybody has seen how it was last year," said Roddy Williams, pharmacist at Ocean Lakes Pharmacy. "They've already seen how it can affect you. And it hopefully will deter that this year."

Doctors and medical experts tell WMBF News even though the flu has been confirmed in the state, it's still too early to know the details. Once the flu shows up locally, they'll have a better idea of how this year's strain will affect you and how to detect it early.

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