North Georgia Health District spokeswoman Jennifer King said that vaccinations not only protect individuals from the flu, but also protect those who are unable to get vaccinated themselves.
“We’re encouraging everyone to get their flu shot and to use good hygiene practices, especially considering the holidays are coming up, and they’ll be around family and friends,” King said Friday.
“They need to make sure they’re protected, and by getting their flu shot they’re also protecting others—especially people who can’t get a flu shot for whatever reason, such as a child who’s under 6 months, or someone who has some health reason why they may not be able to get a flu shot. If we’re protected then we’re helping to protect them.”
Flu season usually peaks in the U.S. in January or February, but can begin as early as October and continue as late as May, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends yearly flu shots for those 6 months of age and older.
There are two North Georgia Health District clinic locations in Cherokee County, one in Woodstock and one in Canton.
The Woodstock Health Center participated in the North Georgia Health District’s multi-county drive-by flu clinic last Tuesday, and King said that the number of vaccines administered in the clinic rose dramatically from last year’s clinic.
“The drive-by flu shot clinic went very well there in Cherokee County. They were able to vaccinate 234 people,” King said. “When you compare it to last year where they gave, I believe, about 170, we feel really good about the turnout.”
According to King, there seem to be plenty of doses of the flu vaccine available for those who want to get the shot.
“There’s certainly plenty there at the Health Department in Cherokee County,” King said. “We would encourage everyone to get their flu shot.”
The Woodstock office can be reached by calling (770) 928-0133, and is located at 7545 North Main St., Suite 100, in Woodstock. The Canton office can be reached by calling (770) 345-7371, and is located at 1219 Univeter Road in Canton.
According to the CDC, manufacturers of flu vaccines are projected to produce between 135 million and 139 million influenza vaccine doses for use in the U.S. during the 2013-14 season.
King said the best way to protect against getting the flu is to be prepared and to be mindful of germs.
“The CDC has not given us any indication of what type flu season we’re expecting, so what we’re advising people to do is just to prepare by getting their flu shots,” King said Friday.
“And to do what they really ought to be doing all of the time anyway, and that’s to be using really good hygiene practices — washing their hands often and not touching their faces with their hands.”
Common symptoms of the flu include coughing, sneezing, aches, nausea and elevated temperature, but King noted that not everyone reacts to the flu with the same symptoms.
“It’s not always those symptoms, sometimes it’s just some of them, but that’s usually the types of symptoms you’d see in a person who has the flu,” King said. “And they’ll often be feeling badly for anywhere from three days to two weeks, possibly more.”