The holidays are just around the corner. They are usually filled with family gatherings and parties where people are within close proximity. Don’t let the flu virus keep you from doing the things you had planned this holiday season. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians 6 months of age and older to get a yearly flu vaccine. The flu shot takes two weeks to provide protection, so take this time to stop by your local public health department to get your flu vaccine.
“We are currently at a moderate level for influenza-like illnesses being reported to public health,” states Dr. William Grow, district health director. “All of our local health departments offer the vaccine as a walk-in service. It’s a short time to commit to staying healthy through the holidays.”
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone 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.
A flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. With flu season beginning as early as August and sometimes lasting until May, it is never too late to vaccinate. The vaccination is available in the shot form. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2017-2018 flu season.
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, Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians take those few minutes to stop by your local health department and make a date to vaccinate.
For more information on immunization, visit: http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know or call your local health department.