Doctors encourage patients to get the flu vaccination now - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Doctors encourage patients to get the flu vaccination now

Dr. Vance Vandergriff, South Strand Urgent Care Dr. Vance Vandergriff, South Strand Urgent Care

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Just how early is too early to prepare for flu season? According to some doctors the best time is now to get vaccinated. 

As we head into flu season, Dr. Vance Vandergriff, with South Strand Urgent Care, says it is not easy to determine what we'll expect. 

"We never really know until we hit the season," said Vandergriff. "We've had some light seasons, we've had some heavy seasons, I've seen the flu hit as early as September in this area before, but so far, so good."

Vandergriff said because flu season is so unpredictable, it is important to take all precautions to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

"I explain to patients that if you don't get a vaccine you get zero protection, if you get the vaccine you have protection and the protection varies from anywhere to 30-percent to 80-percent," added the doctor. 

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, as of October 10,  there have been 40 to 50 reported flu cases across the Palmetto State, including four deaths. 

Horry County has already seen five confirmed flu cases, no cases have been reported in Florence County, according to DHEC.

"Here locally we tend to see our flu season really hitting in December, sometimes even as late as April," explained Vandergriff. The doctor said he typically doesn't give the flu vaccine until October and November based on when the Grand Strand typically sees more flu cases. 

In order to prepare for the upcoming flu season the Centers for Disease Control will look at the strains of the flu that were present at the end of last year and use that information to determine that strain as the most common strain we'll see this year. 

People at high risk of serious flu complications are children younger than two years, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.

Vandergriff says you shouldn't get the vaccine too early and you shouldn't wait too late because it could increase your chances of getting the flu. 

He added, "We can say pretty good, that it's four months that you have immunity, and sometimes people getting their vaccines in August, September their vaccine may weakened by the time the spring hits."

He says it also important to notice the symptoms of the flu. "We can treat the flu, there are medicines that can treat the flu but you have to be on the medicine within 48 hours get the full effectiveness."

Those symptoms could include:

  • high fever
  • body aches
  • chills
  • cold-like symptoms( cough, runny nose, congestion)

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