Flu cases skyrocket in Georgia, South Carolina

WRDW News 12 5 a.m. Nov. 11
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 4:14 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 4:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Flu season is here, and there are alarming numbers to report in both Georgia and South Carolina.

They’re in a band of Southern states plus the District of Columbia that are rated with the highest possible level of flu activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest numbers from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control show flu activity is increasing across at least two dozen counties in the Palmetto State. Some emergency rooms have experienced an uptick in patients with influenza-like illness and symptoms.

Meanwhile, flu is also widespread in Georgia, earlier than we’ve seen in recent years, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations are up by 200% in the Peach State.

Flu map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Flu map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(Contributed)

With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

“The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Public Health. “Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine. The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu. Now is the time to get vaccinated.”

Georgia health officials said there are some other tried-and-true measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like flu and respiratory syncytial virus:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based gels are the next best thing if you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • When you have to cough or sneeze, do it into the crook of your elbow or arm to help prevent the spread of the flu.
  • Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose,