SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) - Experts with the Southwest Health District said the flu has reached an epidemic in our area.
One county's emergency management director said it's close to declaring a public health emergency.
Last year, a Sumter County hospital saw only 14 cases of the flu. However this year, it's seen 114 cases.
"The flu is widespread here in Sumter County," said Nigel Poole, Emergency Director for Sumter County.
Poole said symptoms have ranged from fever and chills to achy muscles and a host of others, but he believes people can keep the epidemic from spreading.
"We need them to know to wash their hands regularly and to stay away from busy areas," said Poole. "If you have sick friends in the hospital or brand new babies that have been delivered, don't go visit them at this time."
He also said if you suspect you have the flu, chances are, you may have it.
"If you need to get the medication then go visit your personal doctor. If you don't have a personal doctor, there are many in Sumter County who are accepting new patients," Poole added.
Poole stressed it's best to only go to the emergency room if it's a true emergency because you could risk catching the flu.
"We need to all try our very best to make sure we don't pass this flu on to everyone else," said Poole.
With this epidemic flooding our region, the Sumter County EMA wants to help cut it down and keep people healthy.
"It's important for us to get this information out to our community, because an educated community, is a safe community."