Seasonal Flu Officially Arrives In Georgia
State Public Health Laboratory recorded Georgia's first confirmed case of influenza for the 2007-2008 flu season.
The first official confirmed case of influenza virus by the Public Health Laboratory is a DeKalb resident whose illness was caused by influenza type A. It is likely that the flu may also be circulating in other parts of the state. All Georgians are encouraged to protect themselves from the flu through vaccination and practicing proper hand washing.
"The appearance of flu this time of year is to be expected. The most effective way to prevent or lessen the severity of the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. In Georgia, flu season usually peaks in late January and early February, so if you have not received your flu shot yet this season, now is the time to get it", said Dr. Stuart Brown, director of the Division of Public Health.
Individuals can contact their local public health department, private practitioner, grocery store or pharmacy to inquire about availability and cost of vaccine in their area.
Health officials recommend that everyone should cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, especially those with flu-like symptoms. Frequent hand washing can help reduce the risk of becoming infected with flu and other respiratory viruses. If you have fever or other flu-like symptoms, limit your exposure to other people.
Influenza is a respiratory illness characterized by high fever (102 degrees or greater), muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and dry cough, that can last from a few days to over a week. Children can also experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Although most people survive influenza illness without incident, the elderly, infants and children, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are most prone to complications from flu, most notably pneumonia. Approximately 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized as a result of influenza each year in the U.S.