Flu season around the corner - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu season around the corner

December 10, 2002

Albany - The cold season hits South Georgia hard, and some doctors worry more colds foreshadow a bad flu season to come. You probably know someone who's already suffering from a cold. Millions of Americans are complaining of running noses and sore throats.

Dr. Craig Smith, with Phoebe Putney, examines yet another patient complaining of cold symptoms. "We've seen so many people with various cold viruses already this year." Smith says most of us already know the best way to avoid the common cold. "You should take the old advice from your grandmother and take better care of your body. Wash your hands regularly and take vitamins."

The flu season officially starts in January, and a bad cold season causes Dr. Smith to worry that this could be a bad year for influenza as well. "For the last few years, the Centers for Disease Control has warned America is due for a severe flu epidemic. It's hard to tell if this will be the year."

Thousands of Americans still die from the flu and pneumonia each year. Both diseases are nearly avoidable by getting vaccinated. "You should get a flu shot before the onset of flu season, because it takes your body two weeks to gain an immunity towards the disease," said Suzette Profit with the Health Department.

The Dougherty County Health Department offers flu shots for $15 and pneumonia vaccines for $18. Medicare and Medicaid are accepted.