Don't let flu wreck your resolutions
By Julie Jordan
Published January 14, 2019
Welcome to 2019. The holidays are over, decorations are coming down, and New Year’s resolutions are kicking into high gear. One way to make sure your goals for 2019 don’t fall flat is to avoid the flu. You can’t put a good diet, exercise nor any other healthy habit into practice if you’re sick with the flu.
January is prime time to prepare for the flu, as flu season runs from fall to winter and usually peaks between December and February. Hospital visits for flu in Georgia have increased steadily since October, and during the last week of December, Metro Atlanta flu-related hospitalizations almost doubled relative to the same time last year.
The strain of flu circulating in Georgia is H3N2, but the rest of the nation is seeing mostly H1N1. This makes fighting flu in Georgia more difficult, according to State Epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek. H3N2 was the main strain circulating across all states last year.
Drenzek is uncertain whether this year will be as bad as the last. It remains to be seen. She urges Georgians not take chances. Prevent the flu, and protect your 2019 goals, by taking these precautions:
- Get the flu vaccine. Everyone six months-old and over should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community, but now is not too late to get one. It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take effect.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- 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.
Symptoms of the flu may include: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, body aches, headache and fatigue. None of these are conducive to a happy new year, but if you already have the flu, the Georgia Department of Public Health recommends you:
- Stay home.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Drink plenty of water or clear liquids to avoid dehydration.
- Use over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory pain relievers as directed to treat symptoms.
Flu infection in people at high risk of complications (young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes and heart disease) may lead to pneumonia, hospitalization or even death. In those cases, seek medical attention as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms—antiviral medication must be given within 48 hours.
For more information about the flu, visit cdc.gov/flu.