Number of flu deaths in Georgia doubles in one week - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Number of flu deaths in Georgia doubles in one week

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VALDOSTA, GA (WTVM) -

The State Department of Health has confirmed two more people in South Georgia have just died - the victims of flu infections that spun out of control.  

Health officials said neither one was in a traditionally at-risk category of the population. They were both young adults, a group that is abnormally being hit the hardest in this year's numbers.  

The latest deaths bring the overall figure for flu-related victims statewide to a total of 19, up from nine last Friday. Experts urge the public to take extra precautions.  

Courtney Sheeley of the Georgia Dept. of Public Health said, "The most important thing is that if you know someone is sick do not go around them. Stay away if it all possible. Of course making sure you are following good hand hygiene. Make sure you are washing your hands thoroughly and often. If you have to sneeze or cough, make sure you are doing it into your elbow and not your hands." 

Carrying hand sanitizer is the next best defense if you don't have frequent access to soap and water throughout the day.  

Georgia is one of 35 states across the country that are reporting widespread flu activity, which means higher than normal hospitalization rates and officially confirmed cases in multiple regions of the state. Georgia's numbers are equal to totals reported in Texas, which has three times our population.  Alabama's numbers are also high.  

If you experience flu-like symptoms, which are fever, sore throat, cough, and sinus issues, doctors say don't take the chance that you will spread it to others.   After the symptoms subside, experts say you should stay home from work or school until an additional 24 hours after your temperature has returned to normal.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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