Healthy people, families, and communities.


 National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 8-14, 2013


Dalton (GA) – You have lots of holiday plans. Don’t let coughing, sneezing, fever, chills and nausea ruin them this flu season. National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 8-14 and the Georgia Department of Public Health, including the North Georgia Health District, encourages you to get your flu vaccine.

Preventive actions such as covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and frequently washing your hands can help guard you from the flu. But the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an
annual flu vaccine.

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, everyone 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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older receive their flu vaccine – whether that’s through a flu shot or the nasal spray. Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before. Vaccines are available, for example, from your doctor or local health department, and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines.

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, the Georgia Department of Public Health encourages you to call your doctor’s office, local health department or pharmacy and get immunized.

For more information on immunization, visit

Jasper (GA) A Pickens County resident was exposed to rabies when bitten by a raccoon last Friday, November 29, according to Jan Stephens, Manager of Pickens County Environmental Health.

The incident occurred late that morning at a private residence just off E. Church Street in Jasper. The raccoon got into a fight with three dogs when it climbed into the dogs’ pen and then it bit the dog owner while the owner attempted to break up the fight.

Lonnie Waters of Jasper Animal Control was called to the scene. Waters euthanized the raccoon and, since it was a state holiday, the body was turned over to Stephens of environmental health the following Monday, December 2.

Stephens prepared the raccoon for shipment and sent it Monday to the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing. The lab reported the positive results late the next day on Tuesday, December 3.

The owner has received a tetanus shot and is receiving post exposure treatment for rabies.

Vaccination records for the three dogs are currently being evaluated and the dogs are being monitored by environmental health.

Health officials remind the public that the best way to prevent rabies exposure is to maintain rabies vaccinations in pets and avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, please contact Pickens County Environmental Health at (706) 253-0900 or log onto

Dalton (GA) -The holiday season is here, and as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, you want to make sure it's not the flu you're exchanging with loved ones and friends for the holidays.

It's not too late to arm against the flu, and a flu shot can help provide protection.

According to the latest CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are starting to increase across the country. And since flu activity doesn't usually peak until February in the United States and can last as late as May, it is important for anyone who has not been vaccinated to get a shot now.

Flu vaccine is available at all county health departments in the North Georgia Health District, including Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. For office hours, call the health department nearest you (phone numbers are listed below) or log onto the North Georgia Health District website at and click on the 'Locations' tab.

In addition to protecting yourself against the flu by getting vaccinated, the Georgia Department of Public Health urges you to also wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid rubbing your eyes or nose with your hands, and cover your coughs and/or sneezes with a tissue or cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

If you do get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, reduce fever with a non-aspirin pain reliever, and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to others.

For more flu information, log onto

North Georgia Health District County Health Departments:
Cherokee: Canton (770) 345-7371 / Woodstock (770) 928-0133

Fannin (706) 632-3023     ~    Gilmer (706) 635-4363    ~     Murray (706) 695-4585
Pickens (706) 253-2821    ~     
Whitfield (706) 279-9600

A school kitchen once received USDA frozen turkeys for a meal just before Thanksgiving. The turkeys were left out of refrigeration at room temperature to thaw overnight. The turkeys were cooked but apparently did not reach a safe internal temperature of at least 165°F. There may also have been ‘cross-contamination’ between equipment used with raw turkeys and cooked turkeys. The result? Hundreds of children and school personnel sick with vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Can you name the mistakes in this story which led to the illness outbreak?

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed. The symptoms usually are not long-lasting in healthy people—a few hours or a few days—andTurkey Cartoon for web usually go away without medical treatment. But foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening to anyone, especially those most at risk such as infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with HIV/AIDS, cancer or any condition or medication that weakens the immune system.

As you prepare your favorite holiday dishes this season, avoid causing foodborne illness by following these food safety tips from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: