Flu Shot (copy)

Health expert encourage patients to get a flu shot before the end of October. File/Grace Beahm/Staff

While only one lab-confirmed case of the flu was reported to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control by Oct. 13, health experts highly recommend that individuals get a flu shot soon. 

"The cost of not being vaccinated can be quite great," said Dr. Elizabeth Mack, a pediatric critical care physician at the Medical University of South Carolina. "The flu can certainly still kill people." 

In fact, she said this month is the best time to get a flu shot. 

"It does take at least a few days for the immunity to develop in a person," Mack said. "At this point, it's not too early." 

Almost 300 people died in South Carolina during the last flu season. A common misconception among some is that getting the vaccine may inadvertently cause a person to contract the flu. 

"That is, in fact, not possible," Mack said. 

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Because the virus in the vaccine is technically not activated, it is not possible to contract the illness from the shot. If a patient does contract the flu following a shot, it is pure coincidence.

Experts agree it's best to get the vaccine to limit severe health complications from the flu and to protect those who cannot get the shot for health reasons. 

"It is our duty as a community to protect those people," Mack said.

According to the CDC, the timing and severity of a flu season is unpredictable, and experts don't know how bad this coming season will be. Flu seasons often begin in October and end as late as May.