AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - With flu season still underway and Georgia being one of many states to see a widespread of the illness, doctors are urging residents to seek help if they feel symptoms. According to a weekly Georgia Department of Public Health Influenza report, the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 15.8%, which is above the regional baseline of 1.9%.
And as of week five, there have been 66 confirmed influenza-associated deaths for the 2017-2018 season. "There's been a tremendous impact this year, especially in the last month. I would say flu season is peaked right now. But they're still telling us to expect a good 3 months of flu activity," says Dr. Laura Rillman."
Dr. Rillman says the flu shot making you sick is a myth and those feeling symptoms should seek treatment immediately. "So one thing I would say is, you can't get sick from the flu shot. It's dead virus. It can't make you sick. But it also is important that when you get the flu shot, it takes about two weeks to build up your immunity to the flu. So, you're not covered as soon as you get it," says Dr. Rillman.
Dr. Rillman says that someone showing very mild symptoms of the flu could still pass it to someone else. "You can have the flu and you can be contagious 24 hours before you ever have a symptom. So, you can already be spreading the flu before you even had a symptom to know that you've had the flu," says Dr. Rillman.
She says she often sees people make the mistake of not staying home when sick and not receiving the proper care and medication. "I think a big mistake is not staying at home, not keeping your kids at home when they're in school, and sending them to school sick. I think another big mistake is assuming that's it's going to be okay and not going and getting Tamiflu and taking things that can shorten the duration of it. Especially in the pediatrics and the elderly. I think it's a big mistake that they don't get the proper care," says Dr. Rillman.
Wal-Mart has flu shots as low as $28 and is generally covered by your insurance with no co-pay required. It's not too late to get your flu shot if you haven't gotten it. Residents in need of Tamiflu, can go to their local Wal-Mart pharmacy to get their prescription filled.