It's Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Vaccination
It has been an active flu season so far and flu activity is up in southeast Georgia, across the state, and around the country. There is no way to tell how long or intense any flu season will be which is why getting vaccinated is so important. It is NOT too late to get the flu vaccine and getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu. For specific information on vaccine types and availability please call your local health department. There are a few other simple things everyone can do to avoid getting (and spreading) the flu.
Flu seasons are unpredictable. Last year's flu season was fairly mild but the 2012-2013 season is proving to be an active one. While the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body's immune response to fully respond and for you to be protected.
Influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. The flu virus is easily spread through coughs and sneezes and by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That's why good health habits are also important including:
- Staying home from work or keeping your child home from school when sick.
- Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze (cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hand).
- Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
It is especially important for those at higher risk of developing flu-related complications to get vaccinated. High-risk groups include those younger than five years of age and specifically children younger that two; adults 65 and older, pregnant women; people who have certain medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, and heart disease; people who have cancer; and people with weakened immune system due to disease or medication.
If you are caring for a sick individual at home, keep them away from other people as
much as possible. Keep the sick person away from common areas of the house and if
you have more than one bathroom, have the sick person use one and well people use
the other. Clean the sick room and the bathroom once a day with household
disinfectant. No one should visit the sick person other than the caregiver. Clean linens,
eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person thoroughly before reusing. You do
not need to wash items separately.
Parents, here's some information just for you:
Flu Guide for Parents
Want to know more about the flu, how it's spread, and how to avoid it?
Everyday Preventive Measures