Flu Season strikes early in Georgia

Flu Season Strikes Early In Georgia

GA Department of Public Health Officials Urge Flu Shots

ATLANTA – The flu has arrived in Georgia!  While
the flu level is still considered moderate in Georgia, the Georgia
Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting significant increases in
flu activity statewide. Some Georgia school systems are reporting high
absenteeism due to flu-like illnesses. 

The
flu is hitting Georgia earlier and harder this year than in previous
years. The early onset of the H3N2 flu is one indication of a
potentially severe flu season.  Symptoms of the flu include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever.  One of the most pronounced flu symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and malaise that comes on quickly. 

The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine.  This
year's flu vaccine closely matches the strains of flu circulating in
Georgia making it effective in preventing the flu or minimizing its
symptoms.  Every healthy individual over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine.

“Because
the flu vaccine so closely matches this year's flu strains, it just
makes good common sense to get it,” said J. Patrick O'Neal, M.D.,
director of health protection, Georgia Department of Public Health.  “The
holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the
likelihood of spreading the flu. Now is the time to get vaccinated.”

Frequent and thorough hand washing also will help guard against the flu.  Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if there is no access to soap and water.  Cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread of the flu.  Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow or arm.  Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.  If
you are sick, stay home from school or work. Flu sufferers should be
free of a fever without the use of a fever reducer (Tylenol) for at
least 24 hours before returning to work or school.

Based on the early arrival of the flu, this flu season could be a long one.  Peak
flu season is usually the end of January and runs through late February
or early March. It is important to take preventative measures now to
minimize the effects of the flu and stay healthy this flu season.