Don't wait to get the flu shot - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Don't wait to get the flu shot

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Pharmacies in and around Albany have the flu vaccine available for the public. They say it's important for people to get vaccinated early because the flu is unpredictable and comes in waves.

Once you get a flu shot, it can take up to two weeks to build up immunity. That's why health care professionals urge people to get their shot right away.

"You want to get a good immunity built up before it were to hit and we are beginning to see some cough and cold stuff coming around so it's very possible a wave of the flu maybe coming around at any moment so you want to build up that immunity as soon as you can," said Carolyn Maschke of the Health District.

Fred's Pharmacy in Leesburg is just one of many places that have the flu vaccine available. Pharmacy manager Greg Drake says so far they've given out about half a dozen flu shots. With summer like temperatures still here, he says often people aren't thinking about the cold season yet, but warns it can hit as early as August.

"We've seen it in some years hit as early as August and people are like 'I haven't even thought of the cough and cold flu or anything.' Last year we had two or three waves and the last one was still coming in after Christmas and people were getting the flu shot in January or February," Drake said.

Every year between 5 and 20 percent of the population get the flu. Health officials say people don't realize the flu can lead to other complications. Anything from pneumonia or even death. Every year thousands of people, from young children to adults die from Influenza. Outside of getting vaccinated, washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.

"You can use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if you can't wash your hands. We want to encourage people that wash their hands to clean under their nail beds and around their nails. Also, to cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow," Drake said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends people six months old and up get vaccinated.

And if you choose not to get vaccinated early, the flu shot can still be helpful as late as February because different viruses circulate as late as May. If you have egg allergies there are forms of the vaccine that are safe for you to take.

 

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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