TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - With the chilly temperatures across South Georgia, medical professionals are insisting people take precautions to stay well.
Because let’s face it -- South Georgia just isn’t used to the cold.
With temperatures starting to drop below freezing, warm homes and buildings can quickly become a hot-bed for bacteria.
One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is by getting the flu shot.
Dr. Rubal Patel at the Affinity Clinic in Tifton said not getting the vaccination could lead to more complications later.
“Anyone over the age of six months and older that do not have any contraindication, should number one get the flu vaccination,” Dr. Patel told WALB News 10.
Dr. Patel shared one of the major consequences.
“The first one in Pneumonia, the flu itself can cause pretty devastating pneumonia. You can get a secondary bacterial infection with the flu,” Patel told us.
Working in a busy office, going to school or even running to the grocery store can put you at risk.
But there are some simple steps you can take to ward off infection.
“Avoid close contact if you have the flu or if someone is sick avoid being too close to them; so we say at least arms lengths distance,” Patel told us.
If you or your child recently had the flu, going straight back to work or school is not an option.
“We usually wait about twenty-four hours since the fever has subsided without taking any medication. The flu is spread by respiratory droplets,” Dr. Patel shared.
Despite an early flu season this year, we’re just getting into what Dr. Patel estimates to be some of the worst months of the season.
“The peak is from December until like February but we have seen cases as late as May. Right now, I want to say the last week is probably the highest level of cases we have seen,” she told us.
Dr. Patel warns there are several strains of the flu and ignoring those risks can lead to serious health concerns.
“A lot of Flu B cases, and we have seen Flu B cases in the middle school age groups, teenagers and high schoolers. We have also seen some Flu A cases in the elderly population. These patients are pretty sick and they have serious complications of the flu,” Dr. Patel shared.
Dr. Patel reflected on one of her recent patients.
“I took care of a lady just last week who has the flu, who is in our intensive care unit, unfortunately with the consequences of being pretty sick on a mechanical ventilator and organ dysfunction,” Patel told us.
Many company health care programs, as well as area medical clinics, offer free flu shots.
Contact your doctor or health care provider to find one near you.