Augusta, Ga (WJBF) Flu season is at its peak. Now that kids are back in school, flu cases are on the rise.
The Children’s Hospital of Georgia’s Dr. James Wilde specializes in infectious diseases. He says Georgia is behind the flu curve.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of flu until about a week or two ago, at least in the Augusta area,” says Dr. Wilde. “Once school gets back in session, it starts to go right back up again.”
Wilde explains even though the national story touts a bad season, CDC data like the number of pediatric deaths, says something different.
“We average about 75-100 kids per year in a nation of 75 million kids who die from flu. We’ve had 20 so far this year who have died from the flu,” says Dr. Wilde.
So why all the buzz about a bad flu season? Dr. Wilde points partially to the bad one the Southern Hemisphere had about 4-6 months ago.
“CDC has been predicting a really bad season. So far, at least in the Augusta area, we are not seeing a horrible season,” Dr. Wilde describes.
As for the vaccine, they will not have the full data until the end of the season, but the prediction is that it was not all that helpful this year.
“For reasons that are not entirely clear, it’s just not a very helpful vaccine, this year or last year,” explains Dr. Wilde.
However, Dr. Wilde points out that you are still better off getting the flu vaccine even though it is not guaranteed to keep you 100% healthy.
“For children, you’re looking at 60-70% protection, in adults you’re looking at about 85-90% protection so even in a good year, the flu vaccine is not a super vaccine. In a poorly matched year, lots of people will get the flu, even with the vaccine.”
This is key—do not reach for antibiotics because the flu is a virus.
“You feel miserable, what can you do about it? Go to bed, take Tylenol or Motrin for the aches pains and fever, get lots of fluids and wait it out,” Dr. Wilde advises.
The doctor also says since Tamiflu has such little impact on healthy people, healthy people probably shouldn’t take it.