Flu dip in Southwest Georgia, more expected - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu dip in Southwest Georgia, more expected

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January 9, 2004

Albany-- Flu cases are declining in South Georgia. Dr. Dinshaw Sidhwa says, "So, it's a lull we are having right now, who knows what is going to happen?" But, the worst is not behind us yet.

The flu hit with a vengeance this year, and much earlier than expected. The outbreak is still considered widespread in Georgia, although new cases of the flu have declined a bit. But, doctors says this is just round one of the flu, and we are in for more.

The waiting room at Phoebe Putney's Convenient Care Center is nearly empty today--a much different scene from just three weeks ago, when doctor's were treating three to four times more flu patients than now, "We are still seeing the scratchy throats, patients with the fevers coming in and out, but the actual influenza has dropped quite a bit."

Dr. Sidhwa says at the peak, he treated 20 or more people with flu a day. "Soon after Christmas I believe, around Christmas we came quite high and towards the New Year's we started dropping off, so I think we are down a little bit now."

But, this lull is not likely to last long, "The CDC says we have not seen the worst of it yet and it's going to come back with a vengeance I believe at the end of the month or maybe February."

A female patient is back in Dr. Sidhwa's office Friday complaining of flu symptoms once again--she was diagnosed with flu in early December. The doctor says people need to practice preventive health care to avoid getting the flu, "Washing hands all the time and keeping out of public places where you know people might be sick. Also staying in enclosed places in the cold weather, that might prevent some people from getting it."

And more people are likely to get the flu, as the official flu season is just now getting underway. Usually the flu season starts around January and lasts for a couple months. Right now, 38 states, including Georgia, are listed with widespread flu activity, down from 42 states last month.

Posted at 2:14 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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