The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a majority of the Southern states are already reporting high levels of flu-like activity.
In the centers' latest nationwide update, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and South Carolina collectively are the areas reporting high influenza-like activity in the country.
Of those listed, South Carolina and Tennessee reported the lowest amount of activity. Mississippi had one of the highest.
In their most recent influenza report, the S.C. Department of Health and Environment Control reported two additional influenza-associated deaths this season. This brings the total deaths to three. All have been recorded in the Upstate.
The department also reported about 120 hospitalizations associated with the flu and nearly 100 lab-confirmed cases.
The majority of the hospitalizations have been residents aged 65 and older.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness with symptoms that range from fever and chills to muscle aches and fatigue. Nearly 600 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been recorded for the U.S. between October and November of this year.
This flu season, there have been a total of five influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. None of them have been in South Carolina.
DHEC and the CDC note that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the vaccine, which has been found to be 40 to 60 percent effective in reducing the risk of catching it.