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South Health District

Flu Activity High and Widespread in South Georgia

If you have not gotten your flu vaccine for the 2018-2019 flu season, do not delay any longer. Flu activity is higher today than it was at this point last year which was classified as a high severity season across all age groups by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“With schools in our 10-county area returning to school next week, we expect flu activity to increase,” stated to Kenneth Lowery, MPH, district epidemiologist. “We encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine that has not already, and to take extra precautions against spreading the illness including staying home when sick.”

Symptoms vary from person to person, and can include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever. One of the most pronounced flu symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and discomfort that comes on quickly.

“The most effective way to prevent the flu is getting your flu vaccine each year,” highlights Dr. William Grow, district health director. “It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine at any of our health departments, local pharmacies or doctors’ offices.”

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 your 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 for at least 24 hours before returning to work or school.

According to Lowery, the peak of flu season normally begins in January and runs through late February or early March; however, it’s been known to extend into May some years. It is important to take preventive measures now to minimize the effects of the flu and stay healthy this flu season.

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