Doctors urge patients to get flu vaccine as soon as possible - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Doctors urge patients to get flu vaccine as soon as possible

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Doctors at Grand Strand Medical Center are urging patients to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible before SC DHEC predicts the flu season will get worse.

SC DHEC reports that 450 cases of the flu have been reported in the 2015-2016 flu season so far. And according to DHEC records, 63 people have been hospitalized for the flue and five deaths have been reported this year. This is all based off reported hospital statistics as of November 4.

Dr. Jon Pangia with Grand Strand Medical Center admits many patients were frustrated last year when they still got the flu after getting vaccinated. Pangia says it’s clear the vaccine was not as effective last year. The CDC agrees with this. Like any virus, the flu virus is constantly mutating in order to survive and become stronger. But Dr. Pangia says it’s better to get a vaccine that is 20 percent effective than to not have any protection at all.

“It’s a little too early to tell how effective the flu vaccine is just yet,” says Pangia. “Because we have to look at what flu is out there compared to what is in the actual flu vaccine. However, what we’re seeing so far is that the virus that’s infecting the most people in South Carolina is covered by the flu vaccine.”

DHEC predicts we will see more flu cases through November.

“Really the time to get your vaccine was yesterday,” says Pangia. “So, if you’re still thinking about it, let’s go! It’s time. Because it’s just going to get worse from here. And we’re not going to get through it until late winter or early spring.”

The flu vaccine takes at least two weeks to build a strong defense in your body. The shot is recommended for children six months old and up. The virus is particularly dangerous for older adults and kids under five years old and.

Daycare workers encourage parents to be proactive. Check with your kids’ school or daycare to see if the policies are measuring up to your expectations. Ask how often the teachers have the kids wash their hands. Also, check on the sick-day policy. Some schools say a child must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning. Other schools require a doctor’s note.

And it’s not a bad idea to invest in some Clorox or disinfectant wipes. Have them at your desk at work, in your car, or even send some to school for your kids’ classroom.

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