Valdosta Daily Times

October 29, 2013

Flu spreads through area

Expert says he’s seen more cases than usual

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Southeast has been experiencing cooler weather early this year, and with cooler weather often comes an increase in reported illnesses.

One threat facing area residents this season is the flu. Reports of flu and flu-like symptoms have been spreading throughout the southeast, particularly in Georgia.

Willy Saurina, MD, infectious disease specialist, said Georgia is experiencing more flu cases than usual this year.

In the area, a number of residents have already been hospitalized with the flu, a contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. Symptoms include coughing, headache and sometimes a high fever.

“The best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands and get the vaccine. The vaccine appears to be working wonderfully and nobody who has received the vaccine has gotten the flu. We’ve had a few cases more than the average so far this year. The more people we can get vaccinated, the more we can prevent the spread,” said Saurina.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended to avoid close contact with those who are sick, wash your hands often with soap and water, and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs.

For those who are currently sick, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, limit contact with others and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze.

It is also important to take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.