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Experts Say this Flu Season Likely to be Severe

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NPR
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Cases of the flu are already showing up in emergency rooms and hospital throughout Georgia and experts are predicting a more severe season this year compared to last.

“The expectation based on the experience in the southern hemisphere in Australia is that it’s going to be a more severe flu season than last year, more similar to two years ago.”

That’s according to Dr. Roger Lovell, an infectious disease physician at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital.

“It can be worse depending on the extremes of age, the very young and very old; the risk for pneumonia, risk for hospitalization, risk for death is higher in those age groups.”

While Lovell encourages those getting shots to do so before the end of this month/October if possible; he says it’s never too late in the season.

“There’s still time and it is the single best way to prevent influenza infections.”

For both those who decide not to get the flu vaccine and those who do, he says there are steps everyone should take in order to stay as healthy as possible this flu season.

“Staying very hydrated, staying well-nourished, those things help to boost the immune system,” according to Lovell. “Using good hand hygiene, if you work in a common area with other people, making sure to keep your area clean, [using] alcohol gel, cleaning your environment; like if someone else using your phone, having some wipes to clean your phone, to clean your keyboard.”

Doctors say flu shots can be given to children as young as six months and there is not upper age limit. Lovell says a stronger vaccine has been produced for those 65 and older, who are most likely to have more severe complications from the flu.

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