Influenza (flu) is hitting Georgia harder this season than at any time in the
past 10 years. This disease should not be taken lightly, it can be serious or
even fatal. The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging all Georgians to
protect themselves from the flu by getting vaccinated and using proper flu
Data as of January 12, 2012 showed flu is widespread in Georgia, meaning that flu or influenza-like illness and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza have occurred throughout the state. However, there has been a slight decrease in flu activity in the first two weeks of January. In metro Atlanta hospitals, 555 people have been hospitalized with the flu this season. So far, Georgia has had two-flu related deaths, but the flu has killed dozens of people in other states.
Peak flu season in Georgia usually occurs in late January and early February,
and can last well into March. However, given the early and intense start of this
flu season, it could last longer this year.
It is not too late to get a flu shot, and Georgia still has plenty of flu
vaccine. Flu vaccination is the best method of protection against the virus, and
this year's flu vaccine is a close match to the predominant strain of flu.
Georgians can get a flu vaccine from a health care provider, a pharmacy or at
their local county health department.
Locate the health department closest to you.
Health officials urge everyone over the age of six months to get a flu shot,
especially children, people age 65 and older, pregnant women and people with
certain health conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened
immune system. Anyone who has contact with these groups is also urged to get
Read more information from the CDC about the flu vaccine here.
The flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which can be
spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. For most people, symptoms last
a few days and include:
Runny or stuffy nose
Flu can also cause high fever and pneumonia, and it can worsen existing medical
conditions. The virus can also cause diarrhea and seizures in children.
People who have the flu should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading
the disease to others. If you think you have the flu, health officials urge you
to first call your doctor or health care provider. They will determine the best
course of treatment for you.
In addition to the flu vaccine, basic hygiene methods can offer protection
against the flu.
Wash your hands often with warm water and soap.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water and soap are not available.
Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm or shoulder.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, where flu germs can easily enter
Routinely clean frequently touched objects, such as doorknobs, keyboards and
If you are caring for a sick individual at home, keep them away from other
people as much as possible. Keep the sick person away from common areas of the
house and if you have more than one bathroom, have the sick person use one and
well people use the other. Clean the sick room and the bathroom once a day with
household disinfectant. No one should visit the sick person other than the
caregiver. Clean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person
thoroughly before reusing. You do not need to wash items separately.
Many schools throughout Georgia are conducting immunization clinics this fall for elementary and middle school students. Contact the child's school for information regarding where and when these will be held if the school is taking part in the program. Not all schools will have specific dates for the clinics as it depends on the arrival of vaccine shipments.
Read more . . .
Flu vaccines are available in a wide variety of locations including your child's
pediatrician and other private providers.
A number of pharmacies have become most active in recent years in taking
part in seasonal flu immunization campaigns. Contact or visit your local
pharmacy to ask if vaccines are available and to learn what items may need to be
provided in order to receive the vaccine.