COWETA COUNTY, Ga. - With the flu epidemic reaching the highest level we’ve seen in nearly a decade, doctors are still urging people to get vaccinated.
Besides the flu shot, there are other ways to protect yourself.
Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach went to Piedmont Newnan Hospital where doctors said they are seeing the spike in flu patients.
The Director of Infection Prevention at the hospital south of the metro said they’ve seen a lot of seniors 65 and over with one strain.
They are now starting to see a rise in ages 50-to-64 with another influenza strain.
Even though we’re peaking now, doctors said it’s never too late to get a flu shot because the season can last into May.
As for kids, although some schools are wiping things down and telling parents to clean their student’s belongings, the best prevention is just keeping hands clean.
Even though the virus can live outside the body on surfaces, it is impossible to wash down everything.
“People touch surfaces and when they touch surfaces, they touch their eyes, their mouth, their nose and that’s how the virus spreads, so the best thing you can do is just wash your hands,” said Dr. Neha Shah.
Because you'll be contagious even before showing symptoms and can spread it.
Shah said you don't have to get a high fever of the flu, it’s not a tell-tale sign. So what is?
"The way the flu is different from the cold is the flu starts kind of suddenly. Colds can kind of linger, take a couple days to show, but if all of sudden you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck, muscle aches and pains, sore throat, cough, sneezing? That could be the flu," Shah said.
Just how effective is the vaccine this year? Even some is better than nothing.
"They are estimating it's around 30 percent. The vaccine is usually that effective each year, reason being that the virus is really smart and it changes throughout the year,” Shah said.
For anyone showing symptoms, the Piedmont hospitals have flu stations inside, which include masks so not spreading any droplets, tissues to cover mouth if coughing or sneezing and hand sanitizer if can’t wash hands fully.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.