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Flu in South Carolina

Individuals, Parents and Caregivers

Picture of familyFlu is different from the common cold. With the flu, one or more of these symptoms may come on suddenly - about 48 to 72 hours after contact with the virus:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Occasionally, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Urgent Warning Signs

If you or a loved one is sick and you have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

In children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash.

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.

Flu Vaccines

Flu vaccines are your best protection against seasonal and novel H1N1 fluFlu vaccines are your best protection against influenza. For 2010-2011, only one flu shot is necessary for most people. Some children under 9 years old may require two shots. Consult with your pediatrician.

These Groups Need Flu Vaccines the Most

The CDC identified certain groups of people who are particularly susceptible to influenza viruses. SCDHEC urges all South Carolinians to get influenza vaccines.

The following persons should seek an influenza vaccine as soon as possible:

  • All persons aged >50 years
  • All children aged 6 months to 4 years (59 months)
  • Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological, hematological or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
  • Adults and children who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
  • Children and adolescents (aged 6 months-18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Persons who are morbidly obese (BMI>40)
  • Healthcare personnel
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children aged <5 years and adults aged >50 years, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged <6 months
  • Household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from influenza.

Get updates on vaccine availability in South Carolina, learn more about vaccine safety, and find a flu vaccine clinic in your local area.

Additional Information on Flu Vaccines from the CDC:

Everyday Flu Prevention

  • Everyday Flu PreventionWash your hands often with soap and water. Wash them for as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home if you are sick until you have been symptom-free without taking fever reducing medicine for 24 hours.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest.

Treating Influenza

If despite your best efforts you get the flu, but your symptoms are mild and you don’t fall into a high risk category, you may not need to visit your healthcare provider.

If you have more severe symptoms, are at risk of complications or have close contact with someone in a high risk group, your healthcare provider has antiviral medications to help you recover faster and lower your risk of passing the virus on to others.

If you're caring for someone who has the flu:

Information for Parents:

School Closings

For information on school closings, contact your local public school district or private school.

If, after reading the information available on our website, you have questions about the vaccine,
please call 1-800-27SHOTS (1-800-277-4687).