Lowndes County is feeling the flu - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes County is feeling the flu

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February 21, 2008

Valdosta - Hundreds of people are showing up at South Georgia Medical Center with the flu.

"This past weekend we saw a record number of cases in our Emergency Department according to our infection control department.  And we are seeing the highest number of cases so far this flu season," says Laura Love of SGMC.

It's not only affecting patients, but doctors, too.

"We are having a staffing shortage because of the flu," Love adds.  "But we are very lucky that most of our staff understands and they are willing to work an extra couple of hours and do what ever it takes to make sure the floor is fully covered."

The Valdosta city school system is no different.  "Some are saying they've lucked up and missed the flu bug but others are saying there are definitely seeing an increase in the number of students and more importantly, the number of teachers who are actually sick with the flu this year," says Jennifer Steedley, Public Information officer for the school system.

School administrators are stepping up cleaning and increasing awareness in the classroom.

"Hand washing, making sure there is extra soap and towels in the bathroom and teaching the children the proper way to sneeze and cough to not share the wealth of the germs," Steedley says.

But health professionals say the best way to battle the bug, is to get vaccinated.  "If you have the flu vaccine and come down with a different strain of the flu, I'm told that typically it will lessen the severity of the flu you have," Love says.

They say prevention is necessary as experts predict the worst may not be over before flu season makes its downturn in April.

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