Influenza now an epidemic

Published 7:32 pm Monday, January 15, 2018

The flu has officially been named an epidemic, according to the Center for Disease Control. It’s now widespread in every state except Hawaii, and more than 60,000 cases of the flu have been reported overall.

Georgia is part of that epidemic, and the numbers are scary. At least four people in Georgia have died from the flu and more than 300 people have been hospitalized, and those numbers are growing.

The flu, like most illnesses, is especially rough on really young people or the elderly. Although the flu is spreading quickly, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says every person over six months old should get a flu vaccine.

There have been many reports that the flu vaccine is not very effective this year. Depending on the story, you can find reports of it being 10 or 20 percent effective pretty easily.

As bad as the flu is, anything that will help you guard against it is worth it. After all, the shot only takes a couple of seconds to administer, and most insurances pay for it.

If you do have the flu, the DPH is warning you to stay home. Anyone with the flu should be free of a fever, without the use of a fever reducer for 24 hours before returning to school or work. No one wants to be the person that infects everyone else.

Everyone has things to do and errands to run, but if you go back to work too early and affect others then you are adding to the problem. It’s much better to stay home, let the flu pass and not spread it any further.

Anyone that is staying home should quarantine themselves, especially if a baby or older family member live in the home.

At this point, the flu doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so prepare yourself and your family.

Wash your hands frequently, get a flu shot if you haven’t had one and stay home if you do get sick.