‘Doubtlessly extreme’ flu season arrives in Georgia’s school rooms

The district stated it’s working to compile case numbers however in the meantime is urging dad and mom to apply “preventive and interventional measures” corresponding to common handwashing, coughing or sneezing into the elbow and protecting college students at house when sick.

The CDC this week urged that individuals get the flu vaccine to guard towards a “probably extreme” flu season.

“Primarily based on what we’ve got seen in components of the Southern Hemisphere, flu has the potential to hit us laborious this yr,” William Schaffner, director of the Nationwide Basis of Infectious Illnesses, stated within the CDC assertion.

“On a optimistic be aware, we’ve got extra preventive behaviors in our toolbox than we did earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Schaffner. “We’re extra accustomed to carrying masks and staying house when sick.”

A 2022 NFID survey exhibits solely 49% of U.S. adults are planning to get flu vaccinations this season.

The CDC stated that’s trigger for concern, as flu vaccination charges have fallen amongst youngsters and pregnant folks because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally troubling are persevering with racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination charges, officers stated.

Since October 2021, the Georgia Division of Public Well being has reported 31 complete flu-associated deaths and 543 metro-area hospitalizations. There have additionally been 39 flu outbreaks in Georgia, three of which had been reported the week of Sept. 24 this yr.

In keeping with the CDC, through the 2021-2022 flu season, Georgia noticed the third-highest variety of circumstances within the nation.

The CDC’s projections come shortly after well being system and hospital leaders met with nationwide well being officers on Sept. 29 to debate managing COVID-19 this fall.

The final two winters noticed “main surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths,” they stated, which severely strained healthcare staff and hospitals.

Officers on the White Home convention stated “it doesn’t must be this fashion this yr if everybody does their half and makes use of the lifesaving instruments we now have, together with up to date COVID-19 vaccines, flu vaccines and highly-effective remedies for COVID-19.”

The CDC advises flu vaccines be administered by the top of October however the vaccinations may be given any time throughout flu season, which typically begins when circumstances begin growing round October, peaks between December and February and might final as late as Could. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be protecting.

The CDC can be advising that individuals can get a flu shot and an up to date COVID-19 booster on the similar time. The up to date booster presents higher safety towards the at the moment circulating BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

Emory College epidemiologist Jodie Visitor stated that one of many causes there’s heightened concern round flu and COVID-19 infections this yr is as a result of flu infections had been decrease in earlier years. When extra folks had been masking and social distancing, the unfold of respiratory infections was decrease.

“That’s what makes getting a flu shot so vital,” Visitor stated.

The Georgia Division of Public Well being says that “the easiest way to forestall the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year,” but in addition recommends frequent hand washing with cleaning soap and water, to keep away from touching your eyes with soiled fingers and sneezing right into a tissue or cough right into a sleeve as an alternative of your fingers.

Most individuals six months and older can get the vaccine. DPH says that everybody — particularly these on the highest danger of flu-related problems — ought to get vaccinated. This consists of folks 50 years and older, those that stay in nursing properties and long-term care amenities, those that have continual well being circumstances, people who find themselves pregnant throughout flu season and youngsters between six months and 18 years outdated.

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