Officials with the Southwest Health District are encouraging residents to get their flu vaccine now, before the start of the holiday season,
“It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to provide a degree of protection after it has been administered,” said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis. “If you get the vaccine now, antibodies should be present by Thanksgiving.”
“Your county health department currently has flu vaccine on hand,” said Danny Stephens, district director of nursing and clinical services. “Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, we recommend calling your health department ahead to schedule an appointment.
Many health departments, but not all, have high-dose flu vaccine for seniors available, Stephens said. “If you are 65 and older, check with your health department to see if they have it,” he said. “If not, a regular strength flu shot is far better than none at all.”
County health departments will be closed Wed., Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day.
The flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu, Ruis pointed out. Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ruis noted that 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, adults living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, children younger than age five, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions.
Preventative actions such as simply washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing can guard against the flu.
It is a myth that you can get the flu from the flu shot, added Ruis.
For more information about preventing flu, contact your county health department or visit http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.