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      Flu spreading and spreading fast in Southwest Georgia

      Charlie Rouse

      A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows widespread cases of the flu in five states â" and Georgia is on the list.

      Officials with Southwest Georgia Public Health say they're alarmed by new data indicating that influenza is spreading and spreading fast.

      "In our area, we're seeing a higher-than-expected number of cases of flu and we're mirroring what's going on in Georgia," said Jacqueline Jenkins..

      One possible reason for the increase could be the region's unusually cold weather.

      "Being very close together in close quarters is a great way to spread the flu," said Jenkins.

      Dr. Charlie Rouse of the Medicine Man's Corner agrees.

      "When we get inside, we're more compact," said Rouse. "When we turn up the heat, we're more dehydrated. So, it's just an environment for colds and flu. The key there is wash your hands. Stay away from people. This is not the time to be hugging somebody's neck. This is not the time to be shaking somebody's hand."

      And it's never too late to get a flu shot, especially for those considered high risk.

      "The very young, the elderly, pregnant women," said Jenkins.

      If you do catch the flu, over-the-counter products like Theraflu can be effective at treating your symptoms but that's all they're really doing. Getting rid of the virus will still probably require a trip to a doctor's office.

      "The truth is you're not going to get over it until the immune system percolates," said Rouse. "Even somebody who's had a flu shot."

      The best ways to boost your immune system are drinking plenty of water and cutting down on salt.

      "Your human immune system is absolutely awesome and if you look after it, it will look after you," said Rouse.

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