The holidays mean family gatherings and parties where people will be in close proximity of each other. Don’t let the flu bring you down. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against the flu and it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties still have flu vaccine available.
“The flu is out there and as long as the flu virus is circulating, it’s never too late to vaccinate,” said Lawton Davis, M.D., district health director for the Coastal Health District. “Flu season does not generally peak until January or February and can run as late as May.”
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. While getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, there are other things we can all do every day to prevent getting or spreading the flu:
•Avoid close contact with sick people.
•If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
•While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
•Try to cough or sneeze into the corner of your elbow and not your hand or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
•Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
•Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.