‘Potentially serious’ flu season hits Georgia classrooms

‘Potentially serious’ flu season hits Georgia classrooms

The district said it is working to collect case numbers, but in the meantime it is urging parents to practice “preventive and interventionist measures” such as washing hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into the elbow, and keeping students home when they are sick.

This week, the CDC urged people to get a flu shot to protect against a “potentially severe” flu season.

“Based on what we’ve seen in parts of the southern hemisphere, the flu has the potential to hit us hard this year,” William Schaffner, director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said in the CDC statement.

“On a positive note, we have more preventive behaviors in our toolbox than before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schaffner said. “We are more used to wearing masks and staying home when we are sick.”

A 2022 NFID survey shows that only 49% of American adults plan to get a flu shot this season.

The CDC said that’s cause for concern, since flu vaccination rates have decreased among children and pregnant people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also of concern are continuing racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination rates, officials said.

Since October 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health has reported 31 total flu-associated deaths and 543 hospitalizations in the metropolitan area. There have also been 39 flu outbreaks in Georgia, three of which were reported the week of September 24 this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDuring the 2021-2022 flu season, Georgia recorded the third highest number of cases in the country.

CDC projections come shortly after hospital and health system leaders met with national health officials on September 29 to discuss managing COVID-19 this fall.

The last two winters saw “major increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths,” they said, putting a huge strain on healthcare workers and hospitals.

Officials at the White House conference said “it doesn’t have to be this way this year if everyone does their part and uses the life-saving tools we have now, including up-to-date COVID-19 vaccines, influenza and highly effective treatments for COVID-19. .”

The CDC recommends that influenza vaccines be given in late October, but vaccines can be given at any time during the flu season, which usually begins when cases start to increase around October, they peak between December and February and can last until May. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be protective.

The CDC also recommends that people get a flu shot and an updated COVID-19 booster at the same time. The updated booster offers better protection against the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

Jodie Guest, an epidemiologist at Emory University He said one of the reasons there is more concern about flu and COVID-19 infections this year is because flu infections were lower in previous years. When more people masked and socially distanced, the spread of respiratory infections was less.

“That’s what makes getting a flu shot so important,” Guest said.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says that “the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year”, but he also recommends washing your hands frequently with soap and water, to avoid touching your eyes with dirty hands and sneezing into a tissue or coughing into a sleeve instead of your hands.

Most people older than six months can get the vaccine. DPH He says that everyone, especially those at highest risk for flu-related complications, should get vaccinated. This includes people age 50 and older, those living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, those with chronic health problems, people who are pregnant during flu season, and children ages six months and 18 years.

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