December 6, 2013

Ah-choo! Tips to avoid the flu

Submitted by the North Georgia Health District

— You have lots of holiday plans. Don’t let coughing, sneezing, fever, chills and nausea ruin them this flu season. National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 8-14 and the Georgia Department of Public Health, including the North Georgia Health District, encourages you to get a flu vaccine.

Preventive actions such as covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and frequently washing your hands can help guard you from the flu. But the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine.

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, everyone 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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older receive their flu vaccine, whether that’s through a flu shot or the nasal spray. Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before. Vaccines are available, for example, from your doctor or local health department and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines.

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 Department of Public Health encourages you 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.