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Editorial: Flu update

Posted: January 25, 2018 3:01 p.m.
Updated: January 26, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Today, we have an interesting update from Senior Writer Martin L. Cahn regarding the flu season. While no one can say for sure that we are in the peak of the season, a lot of people in Kershaw County are dealing with this pernicious, deeply uncomfortable and dangerous condition.

In fact, KershawHealth has processed 430 positive rapid flu tests and hospitalized 21 people since Dec. 31.

While KershawHealth, DHEC and the CDC all indicate that it’s too early to tell if the flu season has peaked, what we do know is that it’s out there and a lot of folks right here in Kershaw County have it. 

The flu is not only dangerous -- at least 45 people have died from it in S.C. this season alone -- it is very contagious. An infected person’s sneeze or cough can infect a healthy person 3 to 6 feet away. It can live for up to 24 hours on a hard surface such as a counter. And a seemingly healthy adult can infect others a full 24 hours before any symptoms show and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

While statistics differ as to the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, medical authorities state, unequivocably, that the flu shot is the most effective way to prevent becoming infected. Frequent handwashing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizers is also extremely important, as well as simply staying away from people and places where you might risk coming into contact with the virus.

If you do get the flu, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, as anti-viral drugs -- currently the only treatment available -- are only effective if they are started in the first 48 hours of symptom onset.

Hopefully, we in Kershaw County will soon get past this “storm” as well. In the meantime, try to stay healthy!

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