search sponsored by

Find more about Weather in Hartsville, SC
              Click for weather forecast

weather sponsored by

HOPEHEALTH COLUMN: Tis’ the season for the flu

on Tuesday, 11 January 2022. Posted in Local News

HOPEHEALTH COLUMN: Tis’ the season for the flu

      Florence was spared from influenza (flu) last season, but we may not be as fortunate this winter. During the 2020-21 flu season, the U.S. experienced its lowest flu activity since 1997. This is likely because of many people’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic affected how many people interacted,         including increased hand washing, face mask wearing, decreased travel, and people maintaining a safe social distance from each other. These activities have affected many respiratory viruses. Many Americans, and South Carolinians, experienced fewer infections with common cold viruses, enteroviruses, parainfluenza, and influenza viruses. In fact, a July 2020 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Report (MMWR) shows weekly cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections reached a low this country had never experienced before.

   It was a pleasant result not replicated this year. Last spring and summer, the country, including South Carolina, experienced a significant increase in cases of RSV infections. I believe it’s reasonable to assume the decreased circulation of other respiratory viruses will also be a temporary effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Typically, influenza outbreaks occur from February to May. Now is a good time for you and your family to get the flu vaccination.

    There are several types of influenza vaccine to include egg-free versions (Flucelvax Quadrivalent & Flublok Quadrivalent) and higher doses (Fluzone High dose & Fluad Quadrivalent) that provide extra protection for people who are 65 and older or are immuno-compromised. Additionally, five other flu vaccine types are standard dose varieties for people six months and older. Historically, influenza vaccines are 40-60% effective in preventing illness.

     The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and CDC recommend that everyone six months and older get a vaccine either as a flu shot or nasal spray. There is no reason to delay getting the vaccine. If you, your child, or your grandchild get the flu vaccine, please ask your physician or nurse if there are any other vaccinations they recommend you get. Many vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccines, may be given the same day as the influenza vaccination.

     Dr. Temujin Chavez is an internal medicine physician at MUSC Health Florence Medical Center and is board certified in infectious disease.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.