Feeling Ill? Skip The Super Bowl, Flu Experts Say

Jan 30, 2019

While Atlanta's airport is recovering from the effects of the partial government shutdown and city officials are strongly advising use of public transportation, sports fans should watch out for symptoms of illness as flu season is still going strong in Georgia. 

Stay home if you're not feeling well, state epidemiologist Audrey Kunkes said.

"We want to remind people, especially when we're going to be around large crowds, to avoid people if you're sick," Kunkes said.

Influenza-like illness is high statewide, but it's not as high as it was in December, according to recent data from the state health department.

The health department is still seeing reports of hospitalizations despite a recent drop in numbers. Since the start of flu season in September, seven people have died and 814 people have been hospitalized. And those numbers represent only those people who saw providers in the metro Atlanta area counties that report positive influenza tests to the state health department, Kunkes said.

"It's too early to tell what's going to happen, but what we do know is that influenza is still circulating in our communities and it's still out there," Kunkes said.

RELATED: Ahead Of Peak Flu Season, Savannah Area Hospital Restricts Sick Visitors

Up to 20 percent of people get the flu each season. While most people feel better after a week, more than 150 Georgians died during the 2017-18 flu season. Nationwide, officials estimate 80,000 people died.

People over the age of 65 made up the majority of the deaths during last year's flu season, which peaked in January 2018. It's never too late to get a flu shot, Kunkes said, and health officials recommend everyone over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated.