The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging Georgians to vaccinate against the flu as the holiday season approaches, it announced in a release.
According to a release from the department, the flu is spreading earlier than we’ve seen in recent years.“The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu. Now is the time to get vaccinated.”
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu, according to the department. The release mentions that with Thanksgiving and other holidays approaching, it is crucial to plan ahead and get vaccinated now.
The flu vaccine is available at public health departments, doctors’ offices, grocery stores, neighborhood clinics and pharmacies. To find a location near you, click on https://www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/. The flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, so it’s a good time to get your updated booster, too.
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Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, chills and fatigue. One of the most pronounced flu symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and malaise that comes on quickly.
In addition to the early arrival of flu, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is also affecting a high number of Georgians, especially young children and older adults. RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms but can lead to lung inflammation and pneumonia. It is especially serious in infants because of the small airways in their lungs. Call your healthcare professional if you or your child are having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms. There is no vaccine for RSV.
The department lists the following precautions as ways to best avoid the flu:
•Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and warm water.
• Alcohol-based gels are the next best thing if you don’t have access to soap and water.
•Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm to help prevent the spread of the flu.
•Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.
The department reminds Georgians to stay home from work and school if they are feeling sick so as to not spread the flu or RSV.
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