Peak flu season in Georgia usually occurs in late January and early February and can last well into March. However, given the early and intense start of this flu season, it could last longer this year.
“We’re reminding people that we don’t know when the peak of the flu is going to come. Historically, the flu season in Georgia is in late January to early February,” said Jennifer Jones, public information officer for NCHD. “It’s not too late to get the flu shot. After receiving a flu shot, it can take up to two weeks for your body to build enough antibodies to fight the flu. For people who may be worried that the flu season will get worse, now is a great time because we’re still weeks away from what may be the peak of the flu season in Georgia.”
ORMC officials plan to help limit the risk of flu exposure to patients, visitors and hospital staff by restricting certain visitors. Starting Monday, all visitors must be at least 17 years old to enter patient treatment areas at ORMC, Jasper Memorial Hospital, the Oconee Wound Healing Center, the Oconee Cancer Treatment Center, and the Oconee Sleep and Wellness Center. Visitors who exhibit flu-like symptoms will also not be allowed to visit patients.
“The restriction will last until further notice or until the flu season is over. It just depends on how activity is looking around the state and in our area locally since the season and symptoms started sooner than they typically do. We did the same type of restriction during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009,” Wagner said. “We’re trying to limit transmission of the flu and help patients from additional illnesses and further complications. Patient safety is very important to us.”
Exceptions may be allowed on the age restriction policy, but will be determined on a case-by-case basis, such as for a child whose parent or guardian is currently admitted or using outpatient services, or if a child has a critically-ill family member at the hospital or one with a life-threatening illness.