Gearing Up to Fight the Flu

By: Courtney Sheeley, PIO
By: Courtney Sheeley, PIO

GA -- September 2, 2011

While it is still hot outside, cooler weather and the flu season are just around the corner and South Georgians should take the opportunity to prepare now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

Flu season usually lasts from October to May in the United States; however, it normally peaks in January or February in South Georgia. Each year approximately 36,000 people in the United States die from complications of the flu.

Other than getting the vaccine, there are everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu: washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and then throwing it away; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs pass this way and; avoid close contact with sick people. Most importantly, if you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid spreading it to others.

Your local health department is now giving the flu vaccine. The vaccine is given first come, first serve and will cost $20. Cash, check, Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. United Healthcare and Cigna will also be accepted for state employees. Nasal spray and high dose flu vaccine are also available in some health departments.
For more information on the flu and/or flu vaccine, call your local health department or South Health District at (229) 333-5290. Information can also be found online at www.cdc.gov/flu.


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