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Georgia health officials: Flu has caused 4 deaths, sent 300 to hospitals

Posted at 3:02 AM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 05:14:27-05

ATLANTA (WTXL) - Flu-related illness in Georgia has caused four deaths and led to more than 300 people being hospitalized, state health officials said.

More people are expected to die of the flu, the Georgia Department of Public Health said in a news release.

"It is not too late to get a flu shot," said Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., the Georgia Public Health 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."

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.

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.

Preventative steps you can take:

  • 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.
  • 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 reusing.