The holidays are almost here, and that means family gatherings and holiday parties where people can be in close proximity of each other. Don’t let the flu bring you down. National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Northwest Health District encourages all Georgians to get their flu vaccine. The flu shot is your best protection against the flu.
“Flu season can begin as early as August and even last through May,” said Janet Eberhart, immunizations coordinator for the Northwest Health District. “It’s important that Georgians understand the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine. As long as the virus is circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate.”
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than five, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or other long-term medical conditions. Preventative actions such as simply washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing can guard against the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before. Vaccines are available at your doctor or local health department and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that live attenuated influenza vaccine, also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2017-2018 flu season.
National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. So, this winter, the Georgia DPH Northwest Health District encourages all Georgians to call your doctor’s office, local health department, or pharmacy and get immunized.
For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.