Both Georgia and South Carolina are seeing some of the highest numbers of flu cases in the nation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia actually ranks highest for widespread flu activity.

We’re in the early stages of the flu season. It generally peaks in the middle of January to early February.

Hospitals including Aiken Regional and Augusta University Health are taking precautions to keep the virus from spreading.

“We asked that children under 12 do not visit, but also anyone else that has any respiratory illness not to visit in the hospital,” said Dr. Phillip Coule.

In the United States, the flu occurs in the fall and the winter. Dr. Coule says The Peach and Palmetto State already see widespread activity. 

“It starts to ramp up immediately after Christmas break,” explained Coule. “When the schools let out for the break, it kind of dies down a lit bit. Going back in January when school starts back up we see a big uptick of activity.”

The CDC says flu activity can last as late as May.

Dr. Coule says his medical staff is predicting a high number of flu cases in Georgia, just like last year.

“The data always have a little bit of lag, and we are already seeing hospitals filling up with increased cases,” said Coule. “Some of the hospitals in the area are going into diversion because they were full.”

Medical experts at AU Health are providing constant reminders during the flu season.

“To prevent the spread of the disease, we do encourage people immunized against the flu,” said Coule. “If they are in one of those high-risk groups, and if they have contact with those 
high-risk groups.”

AU Health’s Chief Medical Officer says it’s getting late when it comes to getting a flu shot, but he says it’s still early enough to protect yourself.

“People with diabetes respiratory disease, cardiovascular, and elderly, those patient population should always get flu shot every year,” explained Coule. “It’s not too late to do that where we are in the season.” 

If you are going to the hospital, the medical staff is asking for patients to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze.

Dr. Coule adds getting the flu shot will not give you the flu.