VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed that five people have died in South Georgia from flu-related symptoms.
DPH says the deaths happened in the South Health District and Southwest Health District, which covers 24 South Georgia counties including Lowndes, Thomas, Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Seminole, Mitchell, Miller Brooks, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Cook and Tift counties.
Health officials confirm two of the deaths occurred in the Albany District and three occured in the Valdosta District. As of January 11, DPH has confirmed 31 flu-related deaths throughout Georgia for the 2019-2020 flu season.
They say the flu activity level is high throughout Georgia and is expected to continue at elevated levels for several more weeks.
Symptoms vary from person to person, and can include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever. Those with flu like symptoms should seek medical attention as quickly as possible since antivirals must be started with 48 hours of symptom onset to be effective.
“The most effective way to prevent the flu is getting your flu vaccine each year,” highlights Dr. William Grow, South Health District Director. “It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine at any of our health departments.”
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 work or school.
“Our hearts go out to the families that have lost a loved-one. We will not release the county of death or any type of identifying information,” says Courtney Sheeley, Director of Communications. “This disease is affecting people statewide…it doesn’t matter where you live. Our message remains the same: everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and stay home if you’re sick to eliminate the spread of the disease.”