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Flu deaths and hospitalizations continue increasing across South Carolina. 

Total flu-related deaths in South Carolina this season have increased to 14, and the state health department reports flu activity continues to be widespread across all regions. 

Three of those deaths occurred between Dec. 30 and Jan. 5, according to the latest flu report published by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Five of the flu-related deaths this season were reported in the Upstate; four were in the Lowcountry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of states that are reporting widespread flu activity, like South Carolina, recently jumped up from 11 states to 24 states

South Carolina also ranks as one of 12 states with the highest influenza activity. Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 5, the state health department reported nearly 140 flu-related hospitalizations.

The state has seen almost 500 hospitalized for the flu so far this season.

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The CDC advises getting the annual flu vaccine. Some of its benefits include reduced risk of hospitalization and death. 

According to the state health department, 80 of the flu-related hospitalizations during the first week in January were for people who are 65 years old or older. 

So far, the flu has been milder this season than last season, when almost 300 people in South Carolina died from the disease.