Flu cases in North Georgia are on the rise. 

North Georgia Health District officials are encouraging all residents six months of age and older to get a flu shot while there is still time.

Sherry Gregory, RN, North Georgia Health District Infectious Disease Supervisor, said:

“It is not too late to vaccinate against the flu. Flu activity is increasing throughout our area. We expect the flu season to reach its peak early this year, within the next few weeks, so it is important to get vaccinated now. Flu vaccination not only protects the person who receives the vaccine but it also keeps them from spreading the flu virus to others.”

Health officials also said that it is extremely important for people who are at a greater risk of experiencing flu complications to get a flu shot.  This group includes children under five years of age, adults 65 and older and pregnant women.  It is advised that anyone who lives with or cares for a person who falls into this group also get a shot.

People who suffer from medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung or heart disease and diabetes can also be at a higher risk of suffering from flu complications and are encouraged to get vaccinated.

“Flu vaccine is available at all our health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties,” Gregory said.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, cough, fatigue, and/or possibly, vomiting and diarrhea.

If any patients who fall into the greater risk category begin to suffer from any flu symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately. According to health officials, this will allow doctors to prescribe medication that can help reduce the risk of complications.

North Georgia Health officials have also seen a rise in stomach virus cases. 

Stomach viruses are highly contagious and symptoms can be serious for people such as young children and the elderly.

North Georgia Health officials said that taking precautions, like the ones listed below, can help reduce the spread of the flu and stomach viruses:

  • Get a flu shot – this will protect you against the flu virus, which will be especially critical if you are infected with some other virus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them, especially avoiding healthcare facilities and long-term care homes.
  • Avoid having children inside healthcare facilities and long-term care homes to protect them from catching viruses and to prevent them from spreading viruses to the people who are there.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the 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.
  • 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.