Florence County seeing high number of flu cases - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence County seeing high number of flu cases

 FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Before you share a slice of pie with a family member this holiday season, doctors are warning flu season is peaking, especially in Florence County.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reports more than 3,700 laboratory-confirmed flu cases from 40 South Carolina counties between December 7 and December 13. That's about a third of about 9,500 confirmed cases so far this flu season.

Charleston County has the highest number of cases for the season with more than 1,000 so far, while Florence and Richland Counties are close behind with more than 750 cases. Horry County has had more than 500 cases.

"I think last year it peaked later in the season. It seems like it's picking up a little bit earlier than it usually does," said Dr. Leslie Pittman, of McLeod Family Medicine. "Hard to say how the rest of the flu season is going to be, but we'll be here and we'll be treating it."

Florence could be seeing more cases because the area is a hub for both people and medical treatment. The statistics only reflect flu cases that have been confirmed by a doctor.

"Since we do have a large hospital here, people do come here when they are sick to be treated," she said.

Dr. Pittman also said she's been seeing more cases of a strain of Influenza-A, which was not covered in the vaccine this year. However, the CDC said that vaccine can still lessen the severity of any strain of the flu, so it's still important to get it as soon as possible.

Pharmacies are also seeing flu cases increase based on Tamiflu prescriptions coming in. Cornerstone Care Pharmacy in Florence has been getting about 10 requests for Tamiflu a day recently.

"We inevitably run out every single year," said Debbie Simmons, the store's pharmacist. "We have had a little trouble getting it in over the past week. We are currently stocked right now I'm glad to say."

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