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.