It's that time of year again. While many Georgians will be sharing gifts and warm wishes this holiday season, the Georgia Department of Community Health is reminding you to get vaccinated so you are not sharing the flu.
"Georgians should continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the flu by getting vaccinated," said Dr. Anil Mangla, DCH's director of Infectious Diseases and Immunizations program and state epidemiologist. "Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you, your loved ones and your community from the flu."
The flu season typically begins in October and can last until May. Georgia is currently experiencing moderate flu activity with no deaths. People can decrease their chances of getting the flu by practicing basic flu safety tips such as washing your hands often with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, staying at home when you are sick, coughing into the bend of your elbow and receiving a seasonal flu vaccination.
This year's seasonal flu vaccination protects against three influenza viruses, including the 2009 H1N1 strain, and is available at local county health departments, pharmacies and clinics. This is the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a universal recommendation for everyone 6 months and older to receive a seasonal flu vaccination. It is especially recommended for those at high-risk of flu complications to seek vaccination. High-risk groups include:
• Children 6 months through 18 years of age
• People 50 years and older
• People with chronic diseases such as diabetes or asthma
• People living in nursing homes or long-term care homes
• Women who are pregnant
• Health care providers
In addition to the flu shot, DCH recommends that Georgians keep their immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, getting an adequate amount of sleep daily, managing their stress and engaging in regular physical activity.
For additional information on immunizations, log onto www.georgiahealthinfo.gov.