Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health announced that there have now been at least 37 confirmed flu-associated deaths in Georgia this flu season. Twenty-five of those have been individuals 50 years of age or older. One was an individual less than 18 but older than 12. Four of these 37 have been in the 10-county Northwest Health District – one each in Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, and Polk counties (ages were in their 60s to late 80s).
Here’s more on the situation and what to do about it:
By Unini Odama, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Northwest Georgia Health District
We are currently experiencing a high rate of Influenza activity in Georgia and the rest of the United States. This is an opportunity to ensure that we get the Influenza vaccination which protects against both Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B. Some of the benefits of getting the influenza (flu) vaccination are:
- Protection against influenza (flu)
- Reduction in the duration of influenza illness
- Reduction in the severity of influenza, and the reduction of serious complications like death.
The Department of Public Health is your partner in ensuring that we protect the health and safety of our citizens in Georgia. Specifically, the Northwest Georgia Health District exists to promote a healthy and a safe environment for Northwest Georgians.
Together, we can protect and prevent diseases such as influenza. Our health departments in Northwest Georgia will continue to administer the flu shots to anyone who needs it, to ensure that we protect our fellow citizens from diseases and harm.
Therefore, I urge everyone to take preventive and protective actions against the spread of the flu:
- Get the flu vaccination annually. It is not too late to get a flu vaccination.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu (cough, running nose, sore throat, fever, chills, headache, body aches, possibly vomiting and diarrhea).
- Frequent handwashing and sanitization
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Stay home if you are sick with the flu.