CDC reports widespread flu activity in Georgia

Doctors say getting a flu shot and washing your hands are two of the easiest ways to avoiding getting the flu. (Image: WTVC)

Flu season is here and it's spreading quickly.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that four states in the U.S. are already in the widespread flu category.

Widespread means health officials are seeing the flu throughout the state, as opposed to just pockets of flu in areas or locations in the state.

Georgia is one of four states in that category, along with Massachusetts, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Right now, CDC research shows that this time last year no states were in the widespread flu category. That's because the flu shot is reportedly only ten percent effective against the most dominate flu strain this year.

Doctors say getting a flu shot and washing your hands are two of the easiest ways to avoiding getting it.

Wednesday, we went to North Georgia to see what doctors on the front line are seeing.

Sarah Harris, a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Ringgold Ready Clinic, says she hasn't diagnosed anyone positive for flu just yet, but she's predicting that will change soon.

"We've not seen a lot here, but we're expecting to see an increase at the end of December [and] early January - that's typically when it hits," Harris said.

She explains how you can tell if you're getting the flu.

"We're looking for fever, body aches, chills - sometimes there's some GI symptoms with that. Nausea, cough, runny nose - those type of symptoms," Harris added.

Besides a flu shot, the health department also recommends following these CDC tips to prevent getting the flu and spreading the virus to others:

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

• If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

• If you do get the flu, take anitiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.

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