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October 2013
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Don’t let the flu bug bite you

Benjamin Franklin said there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. But we need to add one more…the flu. It is almost time to hear that hacking cough, sneezing, shivering and moaning of the 2013 flu season. There is time to either avoid the flu or to lessen its severity. Many people don’t get the flu vaccine, even though it is covered by most insurance policies and if you don’t have insurance, it is not very expensive. Getting a vaccine is a lot cheaper than ending up in the hospital or dying.

The first case of the flu was reported in South Carolina the first week of October. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control has planned to focus its resources on providing flu shots for the uninsured, under-insured, and those who do not have access to the vaccine.

“Vaccination remains the single best way to prevent the spread of flu,” according to state epidemiologist Linda Bell, M.D.” We recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age or older. Flu season typically peaks in February in South Carolina. But you should get vaccinated as soon as possible to give your body time to strengthen its natural resistance to the virus before you are exposed. We strongly recommend flu vaccine for anyone who wants to reduce their risk from flu and its complications.”

To learn where and when influenza vaccine will be offered in your area, visit

“You can help reduce the chance of spreading flu and other viruses by covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, washing your hands often and staying home if you get sick,” Dr. Bell said. “Another good idea is to live healthy – eat properly and get plenty of exercise and rest.” Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infections can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is recommending that everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. People who are in a higher risk category are strongly urged to get one. Those people include the following:

* People who are at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia) if they get sick with the flu.

*People who have chronic medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

*Pregnant women.

*People younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2), and people 65 years and older.

*People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.

*People that live in a house with or are caregivers of people with certain medical conditions

These include diabetes, asthma, and any chronic respiratory disease.

* People that live in a house with or are caregivers of infants less than 6 months old

* People that live in a house with or are caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including

* Health care personnel.



There are many places to get your vaccine.  If you have insurance or can afford to pay for one, you can get your vaccine from your doctor, a medical walk in office or now even stores such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, Target and even Kroger are giving the vaccinations this year. Isn’t America great when you can go to Kroger’s and ask for a dozen eggs, a quart of ice cream and a flu shot.

The Health Department is offering flu vaccines at two of their offices in Horry County.

The cost of the seasonal flu shot is $25. A nurse at their office said “please do not let cost prevent you from seeking your flu shot. Ask how we can help and please wear a short-sleeved shirt.”

Conway Health Department      Wednesdays      8:30am – 4:00 pm

1931 Industrial Park Road



By appointment only. Call 1-866-411-5767


Myrtle Beach Health Department     Mondays    8:30am – 3:45pm

700 21st Avenue North

Myrtle Beach

By appointment only. Call 1-866-411-5767



If you have Medicare, it is a covered procedure. You pay nothing for a flu shot if the doctor or other health care provider accepts assignment for giving the shot, and the Part B deductible doesn’t apply.

Medicaid payment of flu shots vary from state to state. The South Carolina Medicaid program does pays for one flu shot annually. If you are a Medicaid participant in another state, please check with your local health department or physician.

Most insurance companies pay for a flu vaccine.  It varies from insurance company to insurance company whether there is a co-pay or the deductible applies. Please check with your insurance agent for rules regarding your policy. Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services, like the flu vaccine, at no cost to you.

Those are the basic facts or the flu shot. Please make arrangements to get yours today so we won’t have to take you or someone in your family to the hospital. Let’s make a change Ben Franklin’s adage to there are three things certain in life: death, taxes and a flu shot.

To learn where and when influenza vaccine will be offered in South Carolina, visit

To learn more about the flu shot, visit the Centers for Disease Control:

Hope that we have provided some useful information. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send to

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