Monroe, Ga. (Oct. 01, 2019) – The flu is already starting to show up in emergency rooms and hospitals throughout Georgia. Now is the time to take preventative action, like getting a flu shot, to protect yourself.
The Influenza virus, commonly called ‘the flu,’ can be a dangerous illness causing complications that may require hospitalization and even can cause death, but it is preventable and treatable.
Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated by the end of October if possible.
“It is best to get vaccinated before the peak of flu season, as it takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for your body to fully respond and for you to be protected,” said Robert Sinyard, M.D., Piedmont Walton Hospital chief medical officer (CMO)
Children younger than six months old are at a high risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than six months of age, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect him or her from the flu. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for the first several months.
“By vaccinating yourself, you will protect those who can’t get vaccinated,” said Dr. Sinyard. “The more people who have immunity stops or slows the spread of infection and helps decrease the chance of someone who is not immune from coming in contact with an infectious person.”
There are actions you can take every day to protect yourself and others from getting the flu. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading illness to others. Also, stay away from those who are sick. In addition, washing your hands reduces the spread of germs.
The signs and symptoms of flu last for two to five days. Signs of flu include: sudden onset of fever, headaches, muscle aches, dry cough, sore throat, and nasal discharge. Children can also experience gastrointestinal issues (stomach pains, diarrhea), and higher fever. The flu season starts in September and continues until April. If you have the flu, there is medicine that you may take within two days to decrease the duration of your signs and symptoms. It is important that if you have the flu, you act quickly.
Flu shots are available at Piedmont QuickCare facilities and appointments at all locations can be scheduled on-line.
For more ways to stay healthy, visit piedmont.org.