By: Kim McCullough | WALB News 10
January 23, 2020
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -- The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed five flu-related deaths between the South Health District and the Southwest Health District, which covers 24 South Georgia counties.
Thirty-one flu-related deaths have been confirmed throughout Georgia for the 2019-2020 season as of Jan. 11.
DPH said flu activity is high throughout Georgia and is expected to continue at elevated levels for several more weeks.
Most people who get the flu will have mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks, according to Kenneth Lowery, an epidemiologist with the South District. However, some people are more likely to get flu complications such as adults ages 65 and older, young children and those with chronic illnesses.
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.
Those with flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention as quickly as possible since antivirals must be started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms to be effective.
Some ways DPH experts say you can protect yourself from the flu is by:
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.
“The most effective way to prevent the flu is getting your flu vaccine each year,” said Dr. William Grow, the South Health District director. “It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine at any of our health departments.”
The peak of flu season normally begins in January and runs through late February or early March, according to Dr. Charles Ruis, Southwest Health District Director; 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.
“Our hearts go out to the families that have lost a loved one. We will not release the county of death or any type of identifying information. This disease is affecting people statewide…it doesn’t matter where you live. Our message remains the same: everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and stay home if you’re sick to eliminate the spread of the disease.”