Influenza enjoys infecting folks 24/7/365 (although more in the so-called winter “flu season”) than elsetimes. Vaccination is the absolute best preventative, not only preventing catching influenza but also greatly reducing hospitalizations, medical visits, and deaths.  Adults can walk in to any pharmacy for a usually free shot. pediatric patients need an Rx. Currently, SC ranks among the top 7 states ranked by the CDC as “very high” in flu activity (especially among elderly folk), with hundreds of flu(+) hospitalizations, thousands of (+) tests, and 16+ deaths so far). Good clinical critical diagnosis (often with the rapid flu Ag test or culture) is critical to trigger prescribing “Tamiflu” at any point thereafter to help prevent complications.  This year’s influenza vaccine is a good match for current circulating strains, and pharmacies, health departments, and other sites still have plenty.  So remember, “it’s never too late to vaccinate” (especially for travelers).

–  Robert Ball, MD MPH FACP/ CCMS Public Health Committee