Influenza widespread throughout Troup County

Published 8:17 pm Sunday, January 21, 2018

Georgia remains in a widespread influenza outbreak, according to the latest numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health released on Friday night.

As of Jan. 19, there have been 12 confirmed deaths related to the flu in Georgia, according to the report. The flu report also measured the influenza-like illness intensity at 10 out of 10 for the fourth consecutive week.

“The last Saturday I worked, we ran out of flu swabs at urgent care,” said Marlis MaGill, a nurse practitioner at Emory Clark-Holder in LaGrange.

MaGill said they are seeing an average of 10 to 12 diagnosed flu cases a day at Emory locations in LaGrange. She said in most years they might see a couple of cases a week.

The most alarming part is that the case load continues to increase.

“It’s increased dramatically in the last two weeks,” MaGill said. “We’ve seen an increase in the number. We are having another round of it and that’s exactly what they have indicated throughout Georgia. It kind of died down and now it’s come back again. We are having another epidemic of it.”

The updated flu report says that there were 40 hospitalizations due to influenza during the week of Jan. 7-Jan. 13, which only includes the 8-county metro Atlanta area. There have been 404 total hospitalizations in that same area.

Most of those hospitalizations — 160 of them — are of people ages 65 and above.

MaGill said young children and the elderly should avoid big crowds and stay away from sick people until it passes.

“It’s important to talk to your young kids if they are going to school, tell them to cover their hands, good hand washing,” MaGill said.

MaGill said there are two different illnesses going around. Along with the flu is an upper respiratory virus, which has a lot of the same symptoms as the flu.

“It has a lot of the same symptoms as the flu,” MaGill said. “That’s why it’s important that people get checked out and get seen to see exactly what is going on. They are treated very differently.”

She said anyone that is diagnosed with the flu needs to take it easy and heed their doctor’s advice instead of going back to work too early.

“Don’t overdo it and if you start having any issues with breathing, those kinds of things you need to get yourself seen about because the secondary inspections are what will kill people, the pneumonia and that kind of thing,” MaGill said.

She said it’s all about precautions.

“If you have a new baby, don’t take them out,” MaGill said. “There’s no reason to take them out and elderly people keep them in until this passes. Just for the next few weeks. Be aware. Avoid big crowds until it passes.

“It won’t be here forever.”