Flu Season Update

Posted on January 9th, 2014

Last week the CDC reported that positive influenza (flu) tests in the Southeast were up almost 23 percent, and Georgia moved into the “widespread” category for flu.  There have been more than 400 hospitalizations and nine confirmed flu-related deaths in the state (as of January 3).

“It’s not too late to get your flu shot,” said Alana Sulka, Director of Epidemiology for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments.  “Getting a flu shot is one of the most important things you can do to protect you and your family from the flu.”

Flu typically affects those at high risk, including young children, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions.  This year one of the circulating flu strains is H1N1, which tends to affect the young and middle-aged adult population.   Protection against H1N1 is included in this year’s vaccine.

“In addition to encouraging flu shots in the young, elderly, and individuals with chronic medical conditions, we want to encourage young and middle-aged adults to make sure they are protected, too,” Sulka continued.  “Flu season normally peaks in January and February, and can last until May.  So there is still time to be vaccinated and receive protection.”

Flu vaccines are available at many places, including all Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Department locations (except Lilburn WIC Clinic).  Locations and hours are available here.

In addition to getting a flu shot, there are simple things you can do to help stop the spread of germs:   wash your hands and cover your cough.  And if you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

Wash Your Hands

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.  Wash hands after coughing and sneezing, after caring for ill individuals, after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Cover Your Cough

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or inner elbow or upper sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.