Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) offers annual flu vaccines to everyone six months and older at the Acworth, Douglasville, East Cobb and Marietta Public Health Center locations. Appointments are not required to receive the flu vaccine and the cost is $25. Local businesses and community events for groups of 20 or more people who are interested in having flu vaccines administered should call Lisa Shadrix at 770-514-2307.
This season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine.
The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
In addition to the flu vaccine, CDPH also recommends pneumonia shots for persons over 65 years old, or anyone with a chronic illness or weakened immune system. Medicare pays for the flu and pneumonia vaccines. The shingles vaccine is also recommended for anyone over 60 years of age. While you are getting your flu shot, be sure to ask your provider if you are up to date on your Tetanus vaccinations. In addition to vaccination, individuals can also reduce the risk of getting the flu by following a few simple steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children home
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then put used tissues in the trash and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
For more information: visit cobbanddouglaspublichealth.com/influenza or call Cobb & Douglas Public Health at 770-514-2300.
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