Get your flu shot now, says Health Department

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Winter is almost here and it’s not too late to get that flu shot. The idea by the Ga. Dept. of Public Health (DPH) to enhance public awareness coincides with National Influenza Vaccination Week that runs Dec. 4-10.

DPH Dist. 4 Risk Communicator Hayla Hall said the department is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to dispel the myth that vaccination beyond the holiday is “too late.”

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) was established by the CDC in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holidays and beyond.

Hall said influenza vaccine is still available at health departments in the district. The cost of the vaccine is $25. Please call your local health department to make an appointment, she added.

“While flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it offers the best protection we have against this serious disease,” Hall said. “Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.”

Hall said influenza can make anyone sick but certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu, causing hospitalization or even death, such as:

·People 65 years of age and older,

·Young children,

·People with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, and certain other long-term conditions, and pregnant women.

Much of the U.S. population is at high risk from serious flu complications either because of their age or because they have a medical condition like asthma, diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart conditions, or because they are pregnant. People with a health condition should receive a flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

Hall said there are more choices available than ever available this year, both in terms of where to get vaccinated and what vaccine to get.

However, for people who do not receive the flu vaccine, health officials encourage them to take the following steps to reduce their chances of getting the flu:

·Wash your hands regularly

·Cover coughs and sneezes

·Keep household surfaces clean

·Don’t attend work or school when ill

·Don’t share glasses or eating utensils

For more information visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

The Fayette County Health Department can be contacted at 770-305-5416.