Health officials recommend getting flu shots early
Flu season is almost upon us, and health experts say the best way to protect yourself is still the flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this year's flu vaccine has been updated to better match viruses expected to circulate in the United States.
Federal health officials say everyone age 6 months and older should get vaccinated, and they recommend getting vaccinated early.
"Early fall is a great time to get the flu vaccine," said Ashley Deverell, District Immunization Coordinator for the North Georgia Health Department.
The health department is gearing up to offer its annual drive-by flu shot clinics, where you drive up, roll up your sleeve and get your vaccine.
Deverell says the clinics only offer vaccines for adults, but she wants everyone to be protected.
"They have chosen new strains this year," she said. "So it's important to go ahead and get that protection. We are predicting possibly an early flu season this year, so we just want to make sure all residents have the opportunity to get vaccinated."
All regular-dose flu shots will be quadrivalent, meaning four-in-one. They protect against four different strains of flu, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
The CDC estimates roughly 40,000,000 people contracted the flu last year, and between 36,000 and 61,000 people died, including children.
"The United States as a whole sees all ages in regards to flu deaths, so there's really no magic age," Deverell said. "Obviously infants and older adults are especially important, But everyone needs a flu vaccine."
The first North Georgia Health Department drive-by clinic will be Tuesday, October 1 in Whitfield County. It will take place at the Dalton Convention Center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.