NORTH GEORGIA HEALTH DISTRICT

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  • NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

    NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Dalton (GA) The New Year is just beginning, and with the holidays behind us, many people think the time has also passed to get a flu shot. However, the peak of the flu season is still ahead and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity continues to increase across the nation (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/summary.htm).

 

The predominant strain of the flu virus that is now circulating in the U.S. is the influenza A (H1N1) virus that created a pandemic in 2009. Protection against that strain of the flu virus is included in this season’s influenza vaccine – the vaccine also protects against influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B viruses.

 

Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, it can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often have a fever (but not always), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

 

Officials of the North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health, stated that getting a flu shot is the best defense against the flu, and anyone 6 months and older who has not yet gotten a flu vaccine this season should get one now at their local health department, through their healthcare provider or at a pharmacy that provides flu vaccine.

 

Also to prevent flu and to prevent spreading viruses, use good, common sense hygiene practices – these hygiene practices should always be used, of course, but especially during the flu season when cold weather has people spending more time close together indoors:

  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Stay home if experiencing flu-like symptoms
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash hands often and thoroughly with warm soapy water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands – instead, use a tissue
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu

 

If you do get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat the illness. These are prescription medicines that are not available over-the-counter; however, they can make illness milder and can shorten the time the illness lasts. They can also prevent serious flu complications. Antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful.

 

For more information about the flu and flu prevention, log onto to the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/flu.