Flu cases on the rise in GA, SC

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Centers for Disease Control says this flu season is starting out rough and we haven't even reached the peak of the season yet.

While there have already been two flu deaths in South Carolina, Georgia is actually seeing an increase too. The normal baseline for outpatient visits is 1.9. Georgia has exceeded that, currently at 3.7.

The influenza activity in the state of Georgia has since increased since the start of flu season. This week's flu code is widespread, which means the flu has affected a large number of people. This means that people should be more cautious of their surroundings and doing things like washing their hands thoroughly, using hand sanitizer, not shaking hands, and staying away from sick people.

"Getting the flu shot can prevent you, even if there's not a complete match with the strains that are in the flu shot, you can get a lesser case of the flu if you get the shot," said Lori Jagniecki, Clinical Manager, Candler Hospital. "Because we are early in the flu season, we don't have a clear picture of how effective or noneffective the vaccine is at this time."

While Georgia has reached this widespread status, hospitals are taking precautions as well. Visitors under 18 are not allowed to visit friends or family members.

"We've been above the baseline for about three weeks. We decided to implement visitor restrictions because influenza has been so prevalent in the community," Jagniecki said.

If you think you have the common cold but you're feeling worse than normal, you may want to check again.

"There's body aches, joint aches, fatigue. You can also have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea," said Jagniecki.

Jagniecki says the hospital has influenza A and B – A being the worst flue cases and they have seen more patients with influenza A. Also, just this week, they have seen six cases compared to the nine they saw last week. Jagniecki strongly encourages flu shots.

"If more people are immune, it doesn't spread and it can be a very serious illness."

There are different flu strains every year.

"The virus strains are looked at every year. The formula and what's going to be put in the vaccine is modified every year," Jackniecki said. "We do not know for sure if the strains match exactly, but it can provide you with some immunity even if there is not an exact match, and prevent you from getting a severe case of the flu."

More than 7,000 cases were reported in November nationwide. That's double the number from last November.

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