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North GA - The holiday season has arrived, bringing with it opportunities to share thanks and spread cheer as we spend time with loved ones. However, it's also a time when the flu can spread, leading to potentially severe complications. The most effective way to guard against the flu is to get vaccinated. Everyone aged six months and above can be protected from the flu with an annual flu shot. And when people are protected, it helps prevent the spread of flu to their loved ones.
Flu vaccines are readily available at health departments in the North Georgia Health District, including Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield counties. No appointment is necessary during regular clinic hours, and the vaccine is low or no cost to you, depending on your healthcare coverage.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the flu, which can be more dangerous for them than the common cold. Every year, millions of children fall ill with the flu, leading to thousands of hospitalizations and even some deaths. Fortunately, a flu vaccine can help safeguard your children against the flu.
Children under five years old, especially those under two, and children with chronic health conditions like asthma and diabetes, are at a higher risk of severe flu complications. It's crucial that these children receive a seasonal flu vaccine to help prevent the flu and reduce their risk of hospitalization or death if they fall ill.
Parents can help their children combat the flu by ensuring the whole family gets vaccinated each year.
Getting a flu shot also helps protect other vulnerable loved ones, such as adults aged 65 and older and people with certain chronic conditions. These groups are at a higher risk of severe flu complications and hospitalization.
For people 65 and older, high dose flu vaccine is available, which contains four times the protective antigen that will help prevent flu in this age group, whose immune systems tend to weaken with age.
A flu vaccine can help protect everyone as we gather to celebrate the holiday season.
Flu vaccines are safe and effective. Even though it's best to get vaccinated before the flu season starts, usually in October, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial as flu activity often peaks in February and can continue until May.
Visit your local health department, doctor, or pharmacy to get your flu shot and encourage your loved ones to do the same.
In addition to getting vaccinated, remember to avoid close contact with sick people, stay home when you're ill, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and maintain good health habits. These measures can help protect you and others from the flu.
To learn more about flu vaccines, the additional protective flu prevention measures, and flu symptoms, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm.
Have a Happy, Safe, and HEALTHY Holiday!