We're about one third of the way through the flu season, and according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, six people have died in Palmetto State alone.
Locally, there have been nine reported cases of the flu in Horry County and one each in Georgetown and Florence Counties. Of those cases, ten were reported as the H1N1 Swine Flu Strain of the virus.
While the numbers may seem troubling, they're not bad for this time of year. "So far we've been spared the worst parts of the flu, although some other states in the South are starting to get hit heavily, we in South Carolina and also in Horry County are still not seeing a lot of positive flu patients" said Dr. John Charles, Chief Medical Officer at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.
The H1N1 strain, which rose to fame in 2009 after it infected more than 50 million people, has killed 5 people in Texas so far this year, but Dr. Charles says we shouldn't worry about another outbreak of Swine Flu. "The H1N1 flu thats coming our way, it looks like, is the same as the 2009 swine flu problem that we had. We've been anticipating that and this vaccine that everyone has received and thats still availible, covers H1N1 Swine Flu."
GSRMC still has plenty of flu vaccinations, and though the season is underway, its never too late to get vaccinated. "Flu season lasts into March and you'll be covered for that and we're not sure when we're going to have the worst of this flu," Dr. Charles said.