DALTON, Ga. – Since health departments in north Georgia began providing flu shots at no cost to clients this week, 640 residents have taken advantage of the offer and others are urged to do the same while supplies last. This number contrasts favorably to the total of 190 flu shots provided by the health departments during the previous week.
Flu activity continues to be widespread in the U.S., and last week, the number of flu-related deaths in Georgia sharply increased, prompting public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties to begin providing flu shots at no cost to residents who have not yet been vaccinated. Healthcare plans are billed for clients who have coverage, and there is no charge to anyone who is not insured. No appointment is necessary – “walk-ins” are welcome.
The current flu vaccine is highly effective against most influenza strains that are now circulating, and county health departments in north Georgia also have a high-dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older, providing them with increased protection.
It is not too late to get a flu shot. This flu season has not yet peaked, and it could last several more weeks. Once vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full protective potential. Therefore, it is important to receive a flu shot right away.
Locations and phone numbers for the no-cost-to-client flu shots at county health departments in
north Georgia are:
- Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, 770-345-7371
and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, 770-928-0133;
- Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, 706-632-3023;
- Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, 706-635-4363;
- Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, 706-695-4585;
- Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, 706-253-2821; and
- Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, 706-226-
Health officials also remind the public that flu is extremely contagious and can spread easily from person to person; therefore, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue or nausea – is urged to stay home during the severest symptoms and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone. Parents should keep children who are sick with the flu at home from school, and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay away from places such as hospitals and long-term care facilities where people are more at risk for developing severe complications if sick with the flu.
More information about preventing the spread of flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, is on the North Georgia Health District website at http://nghd.org/pr/34-/938-widespread-flu-in-georgia.html.
Don’t Let The Flu Catch Up To You:
Georgia Dept. of Public Health Encourages Yearly Flu Shot
North Georgia – The holidays are almost here, and that means family gatherings and holiday parties where people tend to be in close personal contact. Don’t bring flu to the festivities. National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians to get their flu vaccine. The flu shot is the best protection against the flu.
“Flu season is here until possibly as late as May, and we anticipate an active flu season this year,” said Sherry Gregory, RN, Infectious Disease Supervisor of the North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton. “It’s important that North Georgians understand the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine. As long as the virus is circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate.”
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. On average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. 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. Preventive actions such as simply washing hands and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing can guard against the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever. Public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties have flu vaccine for people of all ages, including pediatric and quadrivalent vaccine as well as Fluzone High Dose for people 65 years old and older. Log onto nghd.org to find these North Georgia Health District county health departments’ contact information by clicking the LOCATIONS tab at top of the home page. Many physicians, pharmacies, employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines. 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 be wise and get immunized against the flu. For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.