Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has a message for Georgians: Everyone needs a flu shot. Yes, you! That’s the focus of a new campaign urging all Georgians over the age of six months to get a flu shot this year.
“Now more than ever, influenza vaccination is critical not only to protect people from getting sick, but to reduce the burden on our healthcare system already caring for COVID-19 patients,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, DPH commissioner. “Even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent illness from flu completely, it can help reduce the severity and risk of serious complications – and keep people out of the hospital during this COVID-19 pandemic.”
Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, including:
• Fever or feeling feverish/chills
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle pain or body aches and headaches
• Vomiting and diarrhea, more common in children than adults
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Both the flu and COVID-19 spread in similar ways. Droplets or smaller virus particles from a sick person can transmit the virus to other people nearby. The smallest particles may linger in the air, and another person can inhale them and become infected.
An important difference between flu and COVID-19 is there is a vaccine available to everyone to protect against flu. Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine – not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vulnerable to the flu and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting an annual flu shot by the end of October. It takes about two
weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
There are tried and true measures to help protect against the flu or any respiratory illness, including COVID-19:
• If you have symptoms, stay home from school or work.
• Practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet between you and others.
• Wearing a mask or face covering in public.
• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Alcohol based hand sanitizers (at least
60% alcohol) are the next best thing if there is no access to soap and water.
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread of
viruses. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm.
• Avoid touching your face as germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of
the nose, mouth and eyes.
Remember, everything you do to help prevent flu will also help prevent COVID-19.
If you do get sick and think you may have the flu, contact your healthcare provider right away. There are medications that can be used to treat flu but they are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.
Flu vaccine is widely available at public health departments, doctors’ offices, grocery stores, neighborhood clinics and pharmacies. To find a location near you click on https://vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine.
For more information about flu and how to prevent it, log on to dph.ga.gov/flu or flu.gov.
For updates on flu or COVID-19, follow @GaDPH on Twitter and @GaDPH on Facebook. Show
your flu shot! Share your flu shot photo with DPH on social media using the hashtag #Igotmine.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a Reminder to ARM AGAINST THE FLU
NORTH GA – It’s that time of year again, north Georgians — flu season. As family and friends
gather for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Anyone still unvaccinated should get a flu
vaccination right away.
December 1-7, 2019 is this year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in which health
officials highlight the importance of being vaccinated against the flu during the holiday season
and beyond. This week serves as a reminder that anyone who can be vaccinated should do so
to protect as many people as possible against flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should
get a flu vaccination every season.
Since this past August, public health staff in the North Georgia Health District have given over
7,440 flu vaccinations, and doses are still available at public health departments in these North
Cherokee County: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371 and 7545 North
Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, (770) 928-0133
Fannin County: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, (706) 632-3023
Gilmer County: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363
Murray County: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585
Pickens County: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821
Whitfield County: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 279-9600
Flu vaccine is no cost at county health departments in North Georgia for anyone under an
acceptable health insurance plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, Anthem BlueCross
BlueShield, United Healthcare, and others. For those without insurance coverage, the cost is
still relatively low. The regular flu shot is $25 and the high-dose flu shot recommended for
people ages 65 and older is $65.
There are many reasons to get a flu vaccination.
Flu vaccine can reduce a person’s risk of flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school
due to flu. Even if a vaccinated person still gets sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of the
Flu vaccine also helps protect women during and after pregnancy and protects the baby born to
a vaccinated mom for several months after birth.
Flu vaccine has saved children’s lives, prevented serious events associated with chronic lung
disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevented flu-related hospitalization among working
age adults and older adults.
Getting vaccinated is not just about keeping healthy. It is also about not spreading the virus,
protecting others in the community who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as
babies, older adults and pregnant women.
Ask the Doc returns as Dr. William Whaley discusses with Guest host Rick about Chemo treatment recovery and the flu shot conspiracies.