Georgia has highest level of flu activity in U.S — CDC

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Peak flu season is starting now, and doctors say to get ready for a potentially extended season.

Getting vaccinated is especially important in Georgia, which was the first state in the U.S.to report "widespread" flu activity this season (on December 2).

Although there are fewer cases of influenza than this time past year, experts say rates of influenza are generally above-average levels across the country. The flu vaccine can not give persons the flu, but may cause one to develop flu-like symptoms. The predominant strain now circulating is H1N1, which is affecting younger age groups more than strains that have circulated in previous years. Thomas shared this flu season has stayed level so far and she has yet to see an increase in flu cases. Sometimes those are sick can also have a cough and some people also get a fever, but not everyone with the flu will definitely have a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"H1N1 is not a very different strain from what we saw last year or the year before".

Cadieux noted that flu season peaked early this year in Alberta, but has yet to peak in Ottawa. "Certainly, it's been off to a much slower start than a year ago".

The CDC says the virus killed three people so far this season, and more people are being hospitalized. "Influenza is always risky", Schaffner said.

Flu vaccines are the best way to prevent influenza, according to public health experts, but there's always some guesswork in predicting the strain that will be most commonly circulating in the upcoming season.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year.

The most common strain that's circulating is H1N1, which is more likely to affect young adults and children, rather than the elderly.

The timing of seasonal flu outbreaks vary and can begin as early as late October. "It trains your body to be prepared for when it actually sees the real thing", he said, adding that it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to work properly.

It's not too late to get an influenza vaccination. "And throughout January and February, it kept lingering". Walk-ins are welcome at the Public Health Clinic at Richland Public Health.

- Stay home when you are ill-especially do not visit the hospital if you have flu-like symptoms. "This is called 'herd immunity, '" he explained. About 80 percent of the children who died didn't receive a flu shot. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

"Complacency worries me most of all".

What Really Makes You Sick? .

Q: If the flu vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, should people still get it?

These results together with the previously reported highly statistically significant reduction in symptoms endpoint (p=0.023) and performing better than placebo in a number of other key endpoints are evidence of the vaccine's protective effect. Occasionally there is low-grade fever, muscle aches or headaches.

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