Health officials urge SC residents to take precautions as respiratory illnesses continue to rise

COLUMBIA, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control held a media briefing on Thursday, December 28th encouraging residents to use precautions as RSV, Flu, and COVID cases continue to rise in the Palmetto State.

Dr. Martha Buchanan, Lead Medical Consultant for DHEC said for the past two weeks the CDC has reported South Carolina is one of two states with the highest Flu activity in the nation, Louisiana being the top state.

Sadly there have been 12 Flu deaths in South Carolina this season.

Buchanan says you have to take the flu and other respiratory illnesses seriously. She adds those at most risk are infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions.

DHEC data shows South Carolina has surpassed the one week percent of people seeing their doctor because they have flu-like illnesses from last year, as well as passed the peak amount of hospitalizations than in 2022.

Buchanan says the best way to protect yourself is to get a vaccinated.

She also adds to wear a mask, stay home if you are sick, and washing your hands regularly.

When it comes to COVID, Buchanan says they continue to see new versions of the omicron variant in the country. She adds it continues to spread through respiratory droplets, however does not seem to be causing more severe illnesses, but they will continue to monitor it.

She adds again, the best way to prevent hospitalizations is to get vaccinated.  Also, get tested if you have symptoms to protect others.

When it comes to RSV, Buchanan says reports show 6-10 thousand people die from RSV infections each year.  She adds there are new vaccines available for RSV.

Health departments across the state do offer free to low-cost vaccines. To learn more, visit:

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