Two Additional Flu-Related Deaths in South Georgia

By: Georgia Department of Human Services Email
By: Georgia Department of Human Services Email
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"This is why we are really encouraging residents to get their flu vaccine if they have not gotten it yet," said Courtney Sheeley of the South Health District of the Department of Public Health.

Two more flu-related deaths in South Georgia has health care officials stressing the importance of getting the vaccine.

"This is our third flu-related death in South Georgia which is now 19 across the state of Georgia," said Sheeley.

This number is up from last year where there were 10 flu-related deaths and none in the district.

"Just following good hygiene practices will really help you, over and beyond getting your flu shot."

Health experts say you shouldn't be scared to get your flu shot because it can help with other illnesses.

"I don't think a lot of people understand that actually getting your flu shot can actually decrease on getting the common colds and that kind of stuff," said Valdosta Family Medicine Physicians Assistant Wendy Copeland.

"I see a lot of people that do get [the vaccine], they don't have as many sinus infections and they just feel better in general. And especially it being the cold season, I definitely recommend the flu shot for everybody."

Copeland also stresses that you cannot get the flu virus from the vaccine.


News Release: Georgia Department of Health

Updated: January 10, 2014

Valdosta - The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed two additional flu-related deaths in South Georgia, totaling three for the South Health District. Both of the deceased were young adults. So far in Georgia there have been 19 flu-related deaths this flu season.

“Again, we stress the importance of getting your flu vaccine annually,” states Dr. William Grow, District Health Director. “This is the most effective way to prevent getting the flu. Those that have died in our district did not have a documented flu vaccine, per the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services.”

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

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 discomfort that comes on quickly.

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.


Updated By: Winnie Wright

January 3, 2014, 9:30pm

The powerful H1N1 strain of the flu virus has claimed the life of a Cook County man.

The unidentified man died of pneumonia last week in Tift County after contracting the flu.

"This is our first flu related death that we have had in South Georgia in this flu season," says Courtney Sheeley, Public Information Officer for South Health District.. "Which we normally see run anywhere from about September to May. We do see the peak normally in late January and February, so we are really encouraging people to go ahead and get their flu vaccine if they have not gotten it yet."

The death is the first for South Georgia, but the ninth for the state this flu season.

The Center For Disease Control recommends that anyone over six months old get a flu vaccination each year.

"Unless you have an allergy to eggs or something like that, then they encourage you to get this," says Sheeley. "It's a safe vaccine. It's been proven to be safe, so we highly encourage you to get it. It's the best way to prevent getting the flu each year."

Sheeley says it is important to remember that anyone is susceptible to the flu.

"Just because you've never gotten it in your lifetime, or you did not get it last year, you can get it at any time, and the thing that we fear is it turning in to more complications, which can lead to death."

Those with a fear of needles have no excuse for avoiding the flu vaccination. Flu mist is also available and is administered through a nasal spray.


News Release: Georgia Department of Human Services

Valdosta - The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed one flu-related death in South Georgia. This is the first confirmed flu-related death in South Georgia this flu season; however, there have been nine flu-related deaths in other parts of Georgia. The local death was an adult.

DPH is reporting increases in flu activity statewide; however, the increase is normal for this time of the year, according to Dr. Cherie Drenzek, DPH State Epidemiologist. H1N1 appears to be the predominant strain but that is also one of the strains in this year’s vaccine.

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 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, many local pharmacies or your doctor’s office.”

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

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.


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