ALERT: Free Flu Shots at NCHD Health Departments While Supplies Last READ MORE

North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Free Flu Shots at NCHD Health Departments While Supplies Last

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In an effort help fight against the current hard-hitting flu season, flu shots will be free to uninsured clients in all 13 North Central Health District (NCHD) health departments while supplies last. Anyone in need of vaccination is asked to call their local health department to check availability and schedule an appointment. Contact information for each NCHD county health department can be found at NCHD52.org/Locations.

Macon-Bibb County Health Department is making it easier to receive an annual flu shot. Saturday, Feb. 3, the health department, located at 171 Emery Hwy. in Macon, will host a flu shot clinic from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Shots will be provided on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.

Flu shots will be provided at no cost to uninsured clients. Insured clients are asked to bring their insurance cards. Health departments will bill insurance providers for the cost of the vaccine; visitors with coverage will pay nothing out of pocket. All NCHD health departments accepts a wide range of insurances including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, Medicaid, Medicare and more. For more information on accepted insurance providers and service fees, visit NCHD52.org/Cost.

“We’re right in the middle of a very active flu season, but it’s not too late to get your flu shot,” says NCHD Immunization Coordinator Judy McChargue. “Our number one goal is keeping our community healthy, so we want to make sure everyone has a chance to get their annual flu vaccine. We encourage everyone who has not already been vaccinated to use this opportunity.”

Flu season happens every year, usually peaking between December and early March. However, this year’s season began early and has already shown high peaks of activity. Since this year’s season began in October 2017, flu has been widespread across Georgia, causing hundreds of hospitalizations and linked to over 35 deaths in the state. This season’s common circulating flu strain, H3N2, has been hard on very young children, adults over the age of 65 and people with pre-existing or chronic medical conditions.

Once a person has been exposed to the virus, it can take between one and four days for symptoms to show. Common symptoms of flu include:

  • Fever, feeling feverish or chills
  • Sore throat and coughing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Aches across the body and muscles
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Most people infected with the virus will recover in several days to two weeks. Certain age groups and people with chronic medical conditions are at risk of developing flu-related complications. These complications can range from sinus and upper respiratory infections to organ failure and death.

If a person becomes ill with the flu, he or she should immediately contact their healthcare provider and request Tamilfu; the medication is only helpful within the first 48 hours of infection. Tamiflu can be prescribed by a doctor, an urgent care clinic or an emergency room. Tamiflu can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and shorten the time a person is sick. It may also prevent serious flu complications.

Vaccination is the primary and most effective measure in preventing the flu. Annual flu shots protect against multiple, common strains of the flu from year to year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone aged six months and older get vaccinated each year. Adults over age 65 and people with weakened immune systems should ask their healthcare provider about receiving a high-dose vaccine.

Practicing personal germ protection will also reduce the risk of flu. Everyone should avoid contact with sick people. If a person experiences flu-like symptoms, he or she should remain home at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided without the use of fever reducing medication. It is important to wash hands with soap and water frequently and always cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.

For more information on flu and the flu vaccine, visit cdc.gov/flu.

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