Georgia and the South feeling brunt of the flu

ATLANTA — Georgia’s public health agency is urging residents to get flu shots without delay, saying illnesses as widespread across the state.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed that more than 200 people statewide have been hospitalized because of flu this season, and two people have died from flu-related sickness. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been more than 2.6 million flu-related illnesses nationwide.

Everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot, Georgia’s public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, said in a news release. Toomey said it usually takes two weeks after the shot for a person’s body to develop the antibodies needed to fight the flu.

Health officials say people can also reduce flu risks by frequently washing their hands, avoiding touching their faces and by staying home from work or school if they have flu-like symptoms.

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