How to protect yourself from the flu virus

Published: Jan. 12, 2017 at 5:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2017 at 7:03 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Georgia has seen its first flu-related death this year, and 108 people have been hospitalized so far this season in our area due to the flu.

The health department says the individual who died from the flu was elderly, but it can strike anyone at any time.

That's why the local health department says everyone six months and older should get a flu shot every year, especially children and the elderly.

The flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

"Anyone's susceptible and here you see the complications are with the people who have maybe compromised immune systems or younger children whose immune systems aren't fully developed and older people who may have some other issues," said Public Information Officer Pam Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms of flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, chills and fatigue.

If you think you need a prescription for antiviral drugs, see a doctor first. They're most effective if you take them within one or two days of having symptoms.

Flu season can last into March or April, so it's not too late to get vaccinated.

Here's what else you can do to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Keep your distance from those who are sick
  • Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through the nose, mouth and eyes.

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