As flu sea­son gets rolling, Ge­or­gia hit harder than any state

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL -

The most re­cent CDC na­tional data showed Ge­or­gia had the high­est level of flu ac­tiv­ity in the United States.

The state’s level of in­fluen­za­like ill­ness was re­ported as “High’’ in the re­port of the week end­ing Dec. 8. That was the most ac­tiv­ity for any state, ac­cord­ing to the agency’s map.

There have been four flu-as­so­ci­ated deaths in the state since the be­gin­ning of dis­ease track­ing Sept. 30, the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health said. One of those who died was a child, and the other three were 65 or older.

Metro At­lanta has seen 159 flu hos­pi­tal­iza­tions over the track­ing pe­riod.

“Flu ac­tiv­ity has been high in Ge­or­gia for the past three weeks,’’ Nancy Ny­dam, a Pub­lic Health spokes­woman, said Wednes­day. “We are (and have been) above the na­tional base­line, so there is plenty of flu cir­cu­lat­ing in Ge­or­gia.’’

Chil­dren’s Health­care of At­lanta said Wednes­day that it’s see­ing an in­crease in flu and res­pi­ra­tory cases re­sult­ing in high pa­tient vol­umes.

The Ge­or­gia chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics said that pe­di­a­tri­cians in the Sa­van­nah and metro At­lanta ar­eas have seen many chil­dren with flu.

The data on dis­ease preva­lence come after an es­pe­cially bru­tal flu sea­son a year ago.

Last win­ter’s flu sea­son was the dead­li­est in at least four decades, the CDC said, with an es­ti­mated 80,000 deaths in the na­tion.

In Ge­or­gia, there were 155 con­firmed in­fluenza-as­so­ci­ated deaths re­ported last flu sea­son, the state Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health said. That fig­ure may be lower than the ac­tual num­ber be­cause not ev­ery­one who dies has been tested for flu, the state agency said. And Pub­lic Health added that it may not have been no­ti­fied of all deaths. Of the re­ported Ge­or­gia deaths, 109 were among peo­ple 65 or older.

The CDC rec­om­mends a yearly flu shot for ev­ery­one 6 months old or older.

Among Pub­lic Health rec­om­men­da­tions:

Stay home from work or school if you’re sick, so you don’t spread the flu. Be­fore re­turn­ing to school or work, flu suf­fer­ers should be free of fever (with­out the use of a fever re­ducer) for at least 24 hours.

If your doc­tor pre­scribes an­tivi­rals, take them.

If you’re not sick, stay away from peo­ple who are.

Wash your hands thor­oughly and fre­quently to help guard against the flu. If soap and wa­ter are not ac­ces­si­ble, the next best thing is to use al­co­hol-based san­i­tiz­ing gels.

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.

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