HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Grand Strand doctors said they are seeing an increase in flu cases this season, especially among those too young to receive a flu vaccine.
Tidelands Health pediatrician Dr. Lucretia Carter said children younger than six months aren’t eligible for a flu vaccine. Still, as flu cases across the Palmetto State continue to rise, it’s important to stay protected, especially around babies.
Carter said the best preventative measure is to get a flu vaccine, especially for those who plan to be around a baby or someone who’s immune-compromised or even older.
Another measure health professionals stress is washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough.
“I’d say weekly or even daily we’re seeing multiple children and I’m sure as well as adults coming in," she said. "Any given week we may have, as far as admissions, two or three admissions just because of the flu. Certainly there are other illnesses going on as well, but flu has certainly been one of the No. 1 causes.”
Doctors at The Centers for Disease Control FluSight said there is about a 40% chance flu activity peaked nationally in late December, a 35% chance it will peak this month and a 25% chance it will peak in February.
Carter said they typically see an increase in January and February.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said there have been 1,456 lab-confirmed tests reported this current flu season and 26 influenza-related deaths, according to DHEC’s report from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4.
That recent DHEC report also shows there was an overall decrease in influenza activity.
Carter said they’ve actually seen more flu cases this year than last year.
“I think it’s been a more virulent season this year. We’re certainly seeing increased numbers over the same time we have last year and as far as severity of those who are sick, it seems to be a little more intense,” she said.
Those who have a child six months or older and they haven’t gotten a flu vaccine, it isn’t too late. On Saturday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tidelands Health will host their Teddy Bear Clinic at Tidelands Health Medical Park, providing no-cost children’s flu vaccinations.
During the event children will learn about a doctor’s visit without being sick. Kids and their bears, dolls or other favorite stuffed buds are welcome too.
Doctors will bandage up your child’s own teddy bear or other loved buddy and while supplies last, they will give out teddy bears.
Tidelands Health Pediatrics and Tidelands Health Family Medicine is located at 4320 Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach.