Flu season expected to ramp up in coming weeks

Towns County flu

HIAWASSEE, NC  – Flu season is upon us, and reported cases of influenza are expected to rise despite repeated warnings from physicians to acquire vaccinations to guard against the dreaded illness.

Clay County, located adjacent to Towns County in North Carolina, recently reported one confirmed case of Type A influenza, the strain which has been most prevalent since mid-summer, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) states that the confirmed cases of influenza are currently considered moderate, listed at 3.4% outpatient reports occuring last week, which is above the baseline of 2.2% . Peak flu season is predicted to occur between the months of December and Feburary, although the virus could linger until spring.

A total of 2,823 Georgia residents have visited physicians due to flu-like symptoms this year, with 16 patients hospitialized.

“Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine, not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vunerable to the flu and its complications,” Georgia DPH Interim Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal advised earlier this year.

Approximately 36,000 Americans die each year from complications associated with the illness. Last year, 151 cases proved fatal in Georgia alone. The young, the elderly, and those with weakened immune symptoms are most vunerable to complications. According to the CDC, it make take up to two weeks for vaccinations to become effective.
The flu is easily transfered between individuals through oral and nasal secretions, with germs capable of surviving on surfaces for extended periods of time. Hand-washing is vital in thwarting the spread of the illness.

Influenza symptoms may include a fever higher than 100 degrees, head and body aches, fatigue, chills, respiratory distress, cough and a sore throat. Prescriptions such as Tamiflu, a medication geared toward reducing severity, should be administered within 48 hours after the onset of symptoms although later administration may weaken extreme symptoms.

Towns County Health Department accepts appointments for influenza vaccinations at 706-896-2265.

Likewise, area pharmacies are equipped to administer the highly recommended vaccine.



Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Widespread flu in Georgia

Press Release

ATLANTA – If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, do not wait any longer! Flu is widespread in Georgia, and more than 300 individuals have been hospitalized with flu-related illness. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed four flu-related deaths so far, but that number is expected to increase.

The predominant strain of flu circulating in Georgia and around the country is influenza A (H3N2). This strain can be particularly hard on the very young, people over age 65, or those with existing medical conditions. H3N2 is one of the strains contained in this year’s flu vaccine along with two or three others, depending on the vaccine.

“It is not too late to get a flu shot,” says J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., DPH commissioner. “Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine – not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vulnerable to the flu and its complications.”

Flu symptoms and their intensity can vary from person to person, and can include fever, cough,
sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. If you think you have
the flu, call or visit your doctor.

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend the use of antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. Antivirals are used to treat those at high-risk for flu complications – young children, the elderly, individuals with underlying medical conditions and women who are pregnant. Most otherwise-healthy people who get the flu, however, do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.

There are other things you can do to help prevent the spread of flu – tried and true measures your mother taught you:

• Frequent and thorough hand-washing with soap and warm water.
Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if you don’t have access
to soap and water;

• Cover your 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 your elbow or arm;

• Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through
mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes; and

• 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 school or work.

If you are caring for a sick individual at home, keep them away from common areas of the house and other people as much as possible. If you have more than one bathroom, have the sick person use one and well people use the other. Clean the sick room and the bathroom once a day with household disinfectant. Thoroughly clean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person before re-using. To learn more about influenza, log on to www.flu.gov.

About the Georgia Department of Public Health:

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability, promoting health and well-being, and preparing for and responding to disasters. DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory.

For more information about DPH, visit www.dph.ga.gov.


Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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