North GA – Since health departments in north Georgia began providing flu shots at no cost to clients this week, 640 residents have taken advantage of the offer and others are urged to do the same while supplies last. This number contrasts favorably to the total of 190 flu shots provided by the health departments during the previous week.
Flu activity continues to be widespread in the U.S., and last week, the number of flu-related deaths in Georgia sharply increased, prompting public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties to begin providing flu shots at no cost to residents who have not yet been vaccinated. Healthcare plans are billed for clients who have coverage and there is no charge to anyone who is not insured. No appointment is necessary – “Walk-ins” are welcome.
The current flu vaccine is highly effective against most influenza strains that are now circulating, and county health departments in north Georgia also have high dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older, providing them with increased protection.
It is not too late to get a flu shot. This flu season has not yet peaked and it could last several more weeks. Once vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full protective potential. Therefore, it is important to receive a flu shot right away.
Locations and phone numbers for the no-cost-to-client flu shots at county health departments in north Georgia are:
Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371 and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, (770) 928-0133
Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, (706) 632-3023
Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363
Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585
Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821
Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 226-2621
Health officials also remind the public that flu is extremely contagious and can spread easily from person to person; therefore, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms – such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue or nausea – is urged to stay home during the severest symptoms and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone. Parents should keep children who are sick with the flu at home from school, and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay away from places such as hospitals and long-term care facilities where people are more at risk for developing severe complications if sick with the flu.
More information about preventing the spread of flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, is on the North Georgia Health District website at http://nghd.org/pr/34-/938-widespread-flu-in-georgia.html.
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