MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As the fall season begins, that means flu season is right around the corner, and South Carolina's moderate climate may be to blame when it comes to how long it lasts.
David Rosenberg, Medical Director of Grand Strand Medical Center's Pediatric Care Unit, said the moderate temperatures cause winter respiratory infections, the flu, and the common cold to stick around a little longer than usual.
He said sicknesses spread most commonly through children not washing their hands and touching their faces and not covering their mouths when they sneeze or cough.
"Last year we were seeing cases like influenza up until the beginning of June. Very long periods of time because we have such a moderate temperature, but, generally speaking, what's commonly known as the fall, early winter is when we see the peak of the influenza," said Rosenberg.
It is recommended that you get your flu shot in September and definitely by October. It's very important for younger children to get the vaccine, because if they get the flu, it can be more severe.
Rosenberg said the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year. It is usually 40 to 80 percent effective.
Teaching your children to frequently wash their hands, sneeze or cough into their sleeve and keep heir hands away from their face as much as they can is key to preventing them from getting any type of illness.
Rosenberg stressed keeping your child home from school if they show symptoms of illness like a fever or a cough, not only to keep them from getting even more sick, but to prevent spreading the illness to other children in the classroom.
"When I interview parents if their child has to be admitted to the hospital, they will tell me, 'Yeah, it's going around the school,' or, 'There's someone that was sick,'" he said, "So, if your child has a high fever or certainly if they are coughing – be considerate of the other families, because if your child is sick, they're going to go to school, they're going to transmit it to someone else and then it's only going to spread."
The easiest and most common key to prevention is hand washing. Teach your child to wash their hands frequently before and after they eat, after they use the bathroom and try to avoid touching their ace as much as they can.