Chattooga County Health Department Now Offers Flu Vaccine



SUMMERVILLE, GA: The Chattooga County Health Department, 60 Farrar Drive, Summerville, is now offering walk-in flu shots, usually free of charge, during regular health department hours.

“Flu season is here,” says Chattooga County Health Department nurse in charge Judy Wesson, and we encourage everyone six months and older to get their flu shot by the end of October. , if possible. Getting the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.

“The flu shot will last through the flu season,” Wesson says. Flu season usually starts in October, but can start as early as September and last until March. Peak flu season in Georgia typically occurs in late January and early February.

Wesson reminds that COVID-19 is still circulating in the community and the health department may also provide free COVID shots and boosters to eligible individuals. “Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory diseases but are caused by different viruses. It is possible for a person to contract both the COVID-19 virus and the flu virus at the same time or consecutively,” says Wesson.

The health department has the quadrivalent vaccine, which provides broader protection against circulating influenza viruses, and a limited supply of the high-dose influenza vaccine, which is more effective for people 65 and older.

Vaccination to prevent influenza is especially important for people who are at high risk for serious complications from influenza, including:

  • Children under five, but especially children under two,
  • adults aged 65 and over,
  • pregnant women and women up to two weeks after childbirth,
  • residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and
  • people with health conditions including asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

It’s especially important to get the flu shot if you, someone you live with, or someone you care for is at high risk for complications from the flu.

It is also recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot at any trimester of their pregnancy. Not only does it protect them against the flu, but it also protects their newborns, at least until the first months of life, when infants are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

The flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19. Since some of the symptoms of flu and COVID are similar, it can be difficult to tell them apart based on symptoms alone. You may need to take a test to confirm a diagnosis.

According to the CDCcommon symptoms shared by COVID and the flu include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Tired (tired)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain from body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults.

Differences:

  • COVID can include a change or loss of taste and smell.

Additional similarities include:

  • COVID and influenza spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced by talking, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Close physical contact (for example, shaking hands) or touching a
  • contaminated surface can transmit the virus.
  • Both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people are contagious to others.

For these reasons, wearing a mask and safe physical distancing will reduce the risk of not only spreading either virus, but also contracting either virus. Other important prevention tools include frequent hand washing and sanitizing, frequent cleaning of common touch surfaces, and staying home if you have any of these symptoms.

A more comprehensive list of similarities and differences between COVID and influenza can be found on this CDC website.

Chattooga County Health Department hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Office of Environmental Health hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For payment, the health department accepts cash, credit or debit card, Medicare, Medicaid, Amerigroup, CareSource, PeachState, Aetna, Ambetter, and most Cigna, BlueCross BlueShield (Anthem), and United Healthcare plans.

Contact the Chattooga County Health Department, 60 Farrar Drive, Summerville, at 706-857-3471; the Office of Environmental Health at 706-857-3377, or visit www.nwgapublichealth.org/counties/chattooga. Follow us on Facebook to receive news, emergency messages and health information at https://www.facebook.com/ChattoogaDPH

Villeda Concrete