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January 10, 2014

Two additional flu-related deaths in South Georgia

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. 

According to an article by The Associated Press, the flu is widespread in at least 25 states, up 25 from last week. 

The CDC's Lyn Finelli says the season likely hasn't peaked, but that it's too soon to know if it will be worse than normal. The number of people seeking medical care for the flu climbed to more than 4 percent of all doctor visits last week, a near doubling from two weeks earlier.

“Again, we stress the importance of getting your flu vaccine annually,” sad 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 being achy 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.

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