ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned new information from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about this year's deadly flu outbreak.
There is still widespread activity in 48 states, including Georgia, the CDC said.
The CDC's top flu experts told Channel 2 Action News widespread flu activity is expected in Georgia for at least the next several weeks, and it's hitting all age groups.
Experts are particularly concerned about children.
The CDC is now reporting the deaths of 53 children due to flu-related complications nationwide. There were 16 pediatric deaths in the last week alone.
There are 51 confirmed flu-related deaths in Georgia, the state Department of Health announced Friday afternoon. That's up more than a dozen from last week's number of 37.
Eli Snook, 5, of Cobb County, and Kira Molina, 15, of Coweta County are the first child deaths in the state.
- 25 dead, 670+ hospitalized from flu in Georgia
- 15-year-old girl is first pediatric flu death in Georgia
- State's busiest ER sees record-breaking numbers because of flu
Health officials tell Channel 2 Action News this year's outbreak is as bad or worse than the outbreak in 2014-2015 when the same strain of flu H3N2 was active.
Dr. Dan Salinas at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta said there are specific signs you should look for in your children to know when to take them to a hospital.
"A severe headache that's unrelenting, they have labored breathing or problems breathing, they get confused or they look dazed, or something is just not right," he said.
Salinas said if your child is vomiting, has diarrhea, severe muscle cramps, blood in their urine or is dehydrated, then it's time to consider a trip to the emergency room.
"One of the most common flu-related complications that we see is dehydration," he said.
Salinas said parents should not rely on flu tests alone.
"A person can have the flu test and it can be negative and they can in fact have the flu," he said.
He said to look for the symptoms and signs that present themselves and be prepared if they show up.
"I've got all the medications on hand to symptomatically treat influenza. We're washing our hands. We're avoiding crowds. We're staying away from people with fever," Salinas said.
He said emergency rooms are seeing unprecedented numbers of people with flu-like symptoms, so you'll want to avoid the ER unless it's absolutely necessary to go.
Salinas said if your child had the flu, their fever went down and then they got sick again, it's most likely a sign of a complication of the flu, such as sepsis or pneumonia, which needs immediate attention.
Cox Media Group