Flu claims lives of 16 people in CSRA, physician shares warning signs of worsening virus

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The deadly Influenza virus has killed 16 people in the CSRA.

  • 2 deaths in Columbia County
  • 1 in Richmond County
  • 13 in the Midlands (Aiken, Barnwell, Edgefield and Allendale Counties)

The Associate Chief Medical Officer of Augusta University Dr. Phillip Coule believes we are nearing the peak of flu season, so very soon the epidemic could drop-off. In the meantime, Dr. Coule says it’s important to be aware of the symptoms that are making this year’s flu very dangerous.

Young children, seniors and those with chronic medical conditions are at high-risk for the deadly viral Influenza.

Dr. Coule says the flu weakens the immune system in these high-risk patients, which opens the doorway for other severe illnesses that are ultimately deadly.

“The majority of people who die from the flu are patients that develop pneumonia, secondary to the flu.” Coule told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

This year’s virus is also targeting otherwise healthy people.

If you don’t fall into the high-risk category, doctors will encourage you to treat yourself at home. Still, if things take a turn for the worse it’s imperative you return to the Emergency Room immediately.

“If they develop shortness of breath or it’s obvious that they are developing more severe symptoms, particularly the shortness of breath, that’s when they should seek medical attention.” Coule said.

Dr. Coule says the same rules apply to the high-risk patients. The two biggest warning signs are the inability to keep down fluids and having difficulty breathing. Seeking medical attention, if you are experiencing those symptoms, could be the difference between life and death.

“The C.D.C. recommends that those patients get a prescription for Tamiflu so that we can reduce the complications that result from the flu.” Coule told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Click here to learn more about Tamiflu. 

Dr. Coule believes the peak of the flu season is between now and the end of next week.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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