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North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Flu Shots Now Available at County Health Departments

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NCHD’s county health departments are now offering annual flu vaccines to residents of central Georgia. Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step to protect yourself and your family this flu season.

The hard-hitting 2017-2018 flu season stressed the importance of vaccination. By the end of the flu season in May 2018, there had been thousands of flu-related hospitalizations and over 150 flu-related deaths in Georgia. The best way to protect against the flu is to get immunized.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The virus is spread mainly by infected people when they sneeze, cough or talk, creating droplets containing the virus which can be inhaled by nearby people. If the droplets containing the virus land on a surface, the virus can spread when a person touches the surface, then touches their mouth, nose or eyes. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with compromised immune systems, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

“Everyone that wants to avoid getting the flu this season needs to get vaccinated as soon as they can,” said Judy McChargue, NCHD Immunization Coordinator. “Early vaccination helps defend you throughout the flu season. You can do your best to protect yourself from germs, but the best defense against the flu is immunization.”

Annual vaccines protect against the most common strains of the virus. While the effectiveness of the shot can vary year to year, the flu shot will ensure that, even if you get the flu, your symptoms will not be severe, and you will not be sick for as long as an unvaccinated person.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for everybody age 6 months and older. Everyone is urged to get the shot as soon as it is available each year, as it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in your body and provide protection.

Flu shots for uninsured clients will cost $25 for regular shots and $55 for high-dose shots. 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.

In addition to the flu vaccines, there are other ways you can protect yourself against the flu by practicing personal germ protection:

  • Avoid contact with sick people; if you are sick, stay home.
  • Always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Throw away tissues immediately after use; do not carry around used tissues for re-use.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your nose, eyes or mouth.
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu.
  • If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

For more information about the flu and flu shot, visit NCHD52.org/Flu.

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