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South Carolina Health Officials Warn of Rising Respiratory Illnesses, Urge Residents to Adopt Precautions

Health Officials Urge South Carolina Residents to Take Precautions Amidst Rising Respiratory Illnesses

In a recent press briefing, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued a warning about the increasing number of respiratory illnesses, including RSV, Flu, and COVID-19 cases in the state. The press conference held on Thursday, December 28th, saw experts in the field urge residents to take necessary precautions to protect against these ailments.

Increasing Flu Cases in South Carolina

Dr. Martha Buchanan, Lead Medical Consultant for DHEC, highlighted that, over the past two weeks, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified South Carolina as one of two states with the highest rate of flu activity nationwide, topped only by Louisiana. Moreover, 12 flu deaths have been registered in South Carolina during the current season, providing a stark reminder of the seriousness of this and similar respiratory illnesses. Dr. Buchanan emphasized that the most vulnerable groups include infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic medical conditions.

Dr. Buchanan also revealed that South Carolina has exceeded the percentage of individuals seeking medical attention due to flu-like symptoms as well as the peak hospitalization rates compared to the previous year.

Protective Measures

Dr. Buchanan advised that the most reliable method of protection is vaccination. In addition to getting the shot, individuals should practice other health safety measures such as wearing a mask, staying home when ill, and washing hands frequently.

Omicron Variant and COVID-19 Cases

On the subject of COVID-19, Dr. Buchanan informed that new forms of the Omicron variant are continually appearing within the nation. Although this variant spreads via respiratory droplets, current observations suggest that it does not cause more severe illnesses than previous strains. Nevertheless, the DHEC is meticulously monitoring the situation. Dr. Buchanan reiterated that vaccination remains the best way to prevent hospitalizations and urged individuals to get tested if they exhibit symptoms to safeguard others from potential exposure.

RSV Cases on the Rise

Finally, Dr. Buchanan addressed the threat of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), an infection known to cause thousands of deaths each year. A ray of hope emerged as Dr. Buchanan mentioned new vaccines for RSV have become available. Low-cost or free vaccines are offered across health departments state-wide.

A Call to Action

The DHEC’s call to action to South Carolina residents and visitors essentially underscores the importance of vaccination and adherence to health safety precautions. While the battle against respiratory illnesses continues, the body of scientific knowledge and health departments’ resources are our best bets at curbing the rising infection rates.

HERE Rock Hill
Author: HERE Rock Hill

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