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Flu season: Do not throw away your shot

LaGRANGE – With the weather starting to become increasingly colder this time of the year, that’s more than enough reason for people to be aware of the inevitable flu season. — It’s one of the nation’s most common illnesses, but can also be deadly.

According to the Troup County Health Department, the exact timing and duration of flu season can fluctuate throughout the year, but influenza activity usually begins October. The period between December and March is when flu season reaches its maximum peak, although it could very well last until May.

The 2015-2016 flu season was calmer and milder, and did not break out like the previous three flu seasons, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The CDC says that the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAV) should not be used during this flu season.

When it comes to actually getting the flu, people with the sickness may spread it to others who are as close as six feet away, according to the Troup County Health Department. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning a day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. After the virus enters the body, symptoms can go on for one to four days.

The flu shot can be effective, officials say.

“While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies show vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 50 percent to 60 percent among overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like vaccine viruses,” said Hayla Folden, spokeswoman for District 4, Georgia Department of Public Health.

If you’re interesting in getting a influenza vaccine for this flu season in Troup County, they are available at the Troup County Health Department and most pharmacies and doctor’s offices.

By James Simpson II jsimpson@civitasmedia.com

Reach James Simpson II 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at jsimpson@civitasmedia.com