The holidays are meant for gathering with family and friends, decorating, and indulging in delicious meals. Don’t let the flu virus keep you stuck in bed. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 6-12, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians 6 months of age and older to get a yearly flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established NIVW week in 2005 to take a proactive approach to educating the community and health care sector about influenza disease. Take this time and schedule an appointment with your health care provider or your local public health department to get your flu vaccine.

“We want Georgians to understand how simple and convenient it is to receive a flu vaccine,” said Sheila Lovett, immunization director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Doctors’ offices, health departments, clinics, pharmacies and even some schools and employers offer the vaccine. It’s a short time to commit to staying healthy through the holidays.”

Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other long-term medical conditions.

The best protection against the flu is a flu vaccine. With “flu season” beginning as early as August and sometimes lasting until May, it is never too late to vaccinate. The vaccination is available in both the shot and nasal spray form.

National Influenza Vaccination Week emphasizes the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. So this winter, Georgia Department of Public Health encourages all Georgians take those few minutes to call your doctor’s office, pharmacy or health department and make a date to vaccinate.

For more information on immunization, click here.