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Local experts share best defenses against the flu this winter

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 9:05 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re in the thick of flu season, and Georgia has one of the highest influenza rates in the nation right now.

With flu and COVID both going around, we know the symptoms can look a lot alike.

We sat down with local doctors about your best defense as we head into the winter.

With COVID restrictions, masking up and social distancing, flu cases last year were much lower than in years past. But this year as restrictions ease, doctors say getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent catching the virus.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict more flu cases in Georgia.

“Currently Georgia is in a moderate zone for flu transmission so we have seen a little uptick this year,” said Rebecca Kershner, district nursing director for Georgia’s East Central Health District.

With COVID-19 still lurking, doctors at University Hospital say it is rare to get both viruses at the same time, but it is possible.

“The challenge with those is that their symptoms are so similar that if you have those symptoms, you need to get tested so you know what you’re dealing with,” said Barry Jenkins, chief medical officer at University Hospital.

Like COVID, getting the flu can also cause serious health problems especially if you already have chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

“Flu can still kill you, and it still can be a very serious illness that can land you in the hospital,” said Kershner.

The best way to prevent both is being vaccinated against both.

“We are recommending if you have the opportunity to get the flu and the COVID vaccine, you can have both together,” said Kershner.

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