MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Georgia reports first flu-related deaths of the season


The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed on Wednesday the flu-related deaths of two people, the first in Georgia this flu season.

DPH said the flu level in Georgia is considered minimal, but there are increases in flu activity, including hospitalizations.

Flu symptoms include cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever and a feeling of achiness that comes on quickly.

"The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine," J. Patrick O'Neal, the director of health protection at DPH, said. "Every healthy individual over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine, unless there are underlying medical conditions. In those cases, patients should consult their physician. The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu. Now is the time to get vaccinated."

Peak flu season typically lasts through the end of January. DPH said that if a person does not have access to soap and water, alcohol-based gels are the next best option to disinfect and prevent the virus from spreading.

If people are sick, they should stay home from work or school. Those infected with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours following a fever.