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Flu deaths up over last year in Georgia


  • By Laurel Huster
  • |
  • Feb. 04, 2020 - 4:34 PM

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Flu deaths up over last year in Georgia

METROCREATIVE

So far this flu season, there have been 42 flu-related deaths across the state, according to the most recent data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

At this time last year, there had only been eight confirmed flu-related deaths in Georgia.

Of the 42 reported deaths, 23 of them were from the age group 65 and older, according to the DPH.

For the week of Jan. 19-25, flu activity levels were high, a 10 on a scale of 1-10. This is the tenth week in a row of high flu levels, according to the DPH.

So far this season, there have also been 1,375 flu-related hospitalizations in the metro-Atlanta area. Most of the hospitalized patients tested positive for influenza A, which is covered in this year’s shot.

Even though the flu season has been well underway for a couple of months, Hayla Folden of District 4 Public Health said it’s still not too late to get a shot.

“If you’ve already gotten the flu and have not had the shot, it’s a good idea to get the shot,” she said.

Even if you’ve already had the flu this year, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the clear for catching another strain, she said.

Folden said it is very likely people will come in contact with the flu right now, due to the high levels. She said to make sure to wash your hands and stay away from people who have flu-like symptoms.

If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay out of work or school, Folden said. Also, avoid going out in public, so other people don’t get sick.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • fever or feeling feverish/chills, but not all people with the flu will have a fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

Folden said the difference between the flu and a cold is that the flu comes on extremely fast. You may feel fine, then very quickly start running a fever and having body aches.

If you think you have the flu, Folden said it is best to call your doctor. Although not everyone has to visit a doctor when they have the flu, here are some warning signs that need immediate medical attention.

For children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

For adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

Folden said that there could be other symptoms that are warning signs for immediate care. If you have other severe or concerning symptoms, contact a medical provider.