Flu not the only issue doctors are warning about

Flu not the only issue doctors are warning about

ATLANTA — As we enter the middle of flu season, the findings of a new study published by the University of Georgia offer hope the flu will spread less quickly this year.

According to the study, more people are planning to get a flu shot this year compared with last.

"That’s excellent news.  Made me feel very, very happy," said Dr. Andi Shane, of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

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Shane said she and her colleagues have handled a number of patients so far this season with the flu and flu-like symptoms.

In addition, there have been a number of cases of the respiratory illness RSV.

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"The symptoms with flu are very similar: high fevers, cough, runny nose and so often times in very young, it's hard to distinguish just based on how they look, whether it's RSV or flu," Shane said.

Unlike with RSV, there is a vaccine to prevent influenza.

Doctors had hoped everyone 6 months and older would have received a flu vaccine by Halloween but stress it’s not too late.

"Even people that are healthy really need a flu vaccine.  We've had a lot of illnesses in people who've been otherwise healthy," Shane said.

Health experts say if getting a flu shot to protect yourself isn’t enough, do it to protect others.

"There are a lot of people who cannot get flu vaccine for a number of reasons, so not only are you protecting yourself, you're protecting your children, your family members," Shane said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia and eight other states are experiencing regional flu activity.

The highest in the nation is in Massachusetts, where the flu activity is classified as widespread.