DHEC confirms first flu-related death in S.C. ahead of 2023 season

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 10:05 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The first flu-related death has been reported in South Carolina ahead of the 2023 season, according to the state health department.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced on Wednesday that a person from the Midlands region died from complications due to the flu.

The official start of the flu season is October 1.

“Although we are just entering the flu season, this is a sober reminder to us all that the flu is already here and that it can be deadly. Sadly, we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in our state,” said state Epidemiologist and DHEC’s Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, Dr. Linda Bell.

Bell said the best way to prevent the flu is to get a shot early.

DHEC and the CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.

It takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to respond to full protection.

“We can’t predict what this season will bring, but we are preparing for significant activity not only from the flu, but respiratory illnesses in general, to include COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s director of Public Health.

The flu vaccine will be available at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces.

It is also safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC health department clinics are available by appointment.

You can call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment or CLICK HERE to find the nearest location.