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      Flu spreading and spreading fast in Southwest Georgia

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

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

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

      One possible reason for the increase could be the region TMs 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 TMs Corner agrees.

      "When we get inside, we TMre more compact," said Rouse. "When we turn up the heat, we TMre more dehydrated. So, it TMs 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 TMs neck. This is not the time to be shaking somebody TMs hand."

      And it TMs 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 TMs all they TMre really doing. Getting rid of the virus will still probably require a trip to a doctor TMs office.

      "The truth is you TMre not going to get over it until the immune system percolates," said Rouse. "Even somebody who TMs 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.