Georgia Department of Public Health recommends getting your annual flu shot ahead of the holiday season.
Credit: GA DPH

Georgia’s public health officials say now is the best time to get your flu shot and avoid having the flu as a guest for the holidays. 

“The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine. Everyone over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine,” said Kathleen Toomey, commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, health officials say now is the ideal time to get the shot. It takes two weeks after receiving the vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection. 

“The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu. Now is the time to get vaccinated,” said Toomey. 

For individuals 65 years and older, public health is recommending three flu vaccines. They suggest talking to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about which vaccine is best for you.  

Flu vaccine can also be administered at the same time as COVID vaccine. So, it’s a good time to update your booster as well.

Flu vaccine is available at public health departments, doctors’ offices, grocery stores, neighborhood clinics and pharmacies. To find a location near you, click here

Respiratory Syncytial Virus 

In addition to the early arrival of flu, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is also affecting a high number of Georgians, especially young children and older adults. 

RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms but can lead to lung inflammation and to pneumonia. It is especially serious in infants because of the small airways in their lungs. Call your healthcare professional if you or your child is having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms. 

There is currently no vaccine for RSV.

Help prevent the flu in your community  

Here are a few things to keep in mind to help reduce the spread of the flu this season:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and warm water
  • Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if you don’t have access to soap and water
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm to help prevent spread of the flu
  • Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes
  • It is critically important to stay home from school or work if you are sick to keep from spreading infections to others 
  • You should be free of a fever, without the use of a fever reducer, for at least 24 hours before returning to school or work

For information about the flu and how to prevent it, click here. For the weekly influenza reports, click here.