South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says the flu season has begun. Dr. Linda Bell, the state epidemiologist says the confirmation of the flu’s arrival reinforces the need for vaccination. She says DHEC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months or older. She says the vaccination remains the single best way to prevent the flu. Other flu prevention techniques, according to DHEC: wash your hands with soap and water; Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue in the trash; Stay home if you are sick until you have been symptom-free without taking fever reducing medicine for 24 hours; Eat a healthy diet, exercise and get plenty of rest. According to SC DHEC, many as 1 in 5 Americans get the flu each year. DHEC says individuals with chronic health conditions, suppressed immune systems, health care workers, and residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities are especially at risk of contracting influenza.