TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Officials with the Tift County Health Department and Phoebe Putney Memorial hospital are offering free flu shots.
In Tift County, those who don't have insurance can get the shot, Tuesday, January 30, while supplies last.
There will also be a "fast-track" in the health department for anyone still in need of the flu vaccine, including those with private insurance.
In Albany, Phoebe will be set up in the Albany Mall Wednesday, January 31 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. between the food court and the main entrance to Belk.
The Lowndes County Health Department will also be offering free flu vaccines to anyone who has not received one yet and is uninsured. Those vaccines will be offered from January 30 to February 9, or while supplies last.
The Lowndes County Health Department is located at 206 South Patterson Street in Valdosta and is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Prevention tips for flu are:
- Frequent and thorough hand-washing with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based gels are the next best thing if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread of the flu. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm.
- Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.
- If you are sick, stay home from school or work. Flu sufferers should be free of a fever, without the use of a fever reducer, for at least 24 hours before returning to school or work.
"This has turned out to be an extremely bad flu season," says Mecca Reeves, RN, county nurse manager. "We want to ensure every person in our community has access to the flu vaccine, whether they can pay for it or not. Insurance carriers cover the flu vaccine for those that are insured."
Flu is widespread in Georgia. The predominant strain of flu circulating in Georgia and around the country is influenza A (H3N2). This strain can be particularly hard on the very young, people over age 65, or those with existing medical conditions. Every individual over six months of age should get a flu shot annually.
Flu symptoms and their intensity can vary from person to person and can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. If you think you have the flu, call or visit your doctor, according to Reeves.
"We know the importance of people getting the flu vaccine, that is your best protection against getting the flu and while it may not be a perfect match this year to the flu strain, it is your best protection," stated GDPH Communication Specialist Courtney Sheeley.