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North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Be a Flu Fighter: DPH Encourages Yearly Flu Shot

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National Influenza Week is December 2-8, 2018

The holidays are almost here, and that means family gatherings and holiday parties where people will be in close contact with one another. Don’t let the flu bring impact your holiday plans. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 2-8 and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians to get their flu shot. The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu.

“While anyone can get the flu any time of the year, flu season can begin as early as August and last through May,” said Judy McChargue, Immunization Coordinator for North Central Health District (NCHD). “It’s important that everyone understands the best way to protect against the flu is to get an annual flu shot. As long as the virus in circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate.”

What is new this flu season?

  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating flu viruses.
  • Any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccines are recommended.
  • While not offered at NCHD county health departments, the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) is again a vaccine option. Ask your healthcare provider about what type of vaccine is right for you.

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. The 2017-2018 flu season was harsh. During that period, there were over 150 confirmed flu-associated deaths in Georgia with seven of those in NCHD’s 13-county district. 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 5, 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 (CDC) 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 local health department, your healthcare provider and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as nasal spray flu vaccine, as an option during the 2018-2019 flu season.

NIVW emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccine. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. This winter, DPH and NCHD encourage every Georgian to visit their local health department, healthcare provider or pharmacy and get immunized.

For more information on immunization, visit dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know. Find your local health department at NCHD52.org/Locations.

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