MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported 4 flu-related deaths in the state this flu season, one of those in Middle Georgia.
“This flu season is going to be worse than last year,” said Coliseum Medical Centers Director of Infection Prevention, Brandi Jones.
Jones says this week, the hospital has seen an increase in positive flu swabs.
“We’ve had positive flu swabs since September and they kind of wax and wane,” said Jones. “Although this is definitely an increase across the country. Everyone is seeing a sharp spike in flu cases.”
Jones says she has seen more flu cases this year than last.
“We’re seeing a sharp spike with all the kids that were out of school for the holidays, now they’re back in school,” said Jones. “So things spread rapidly through the school system too.”
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), the flu can be especially harder on children ages 0-4.
“However, the difference isn’t too great between them and those older and up to age 49,” said Michael Hokanson, Public Information Officer for the GDPH North Central Health District. “We’re seeing a high amount of them as well. Showing up with those influenza like illnesses.”
One person, who was over the age of 65 died from getting the flu in Middle Georgia. More than 300 have already been hospitalized throughout the state, this according to GDPH.
“We’re only midway through the flu season this year, we will probably see a change in those numbers,” said Hokanson. “But we want to make sure that everybody knows exactly what they can do to prevent or if not prevent, getting the flu, at least make it not as harsh on them.”
If you haven’t already, get the flu shot! The Department of Health says that’s the best way to prevent it.
“Even if you do get the flu after you’ve gotten that flu shot, the medicine in you is going to make sure your symptoms aren’t as severe and that the time that you’re sick isn’t going to be as long as somebody that wasn’t vaccinated,” said Hokanson.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported 13-flu related deaths in children this season. So it is important take precautions and see a doctor if you start seeing flu like symptoms.