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Flu season means its time for shots
Pharmacist Amanda McCall of Marietta gives Michael Daly of Richmond Hill a flu shot Friday during Richmond Hill Pharmacy’s seventh annual Health Fair.
When it comes to keeping healthy during flu season, the proverbial ounce of prevention comes in a vaccine.
That’s why public health officials urge that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot, and get it sooner rather than later.
 “Getting a seasonal flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself from getting and spreading the flu,” said Bryan County Health Department Nurse Manager Joanne Burnsed. “Last year we witnessed how unpredictable the flu can be and how quickly it can spread. Getting vaccinated is the best defense.”
Health experts estimate 36,000 people in the U.S. die annually from the flu, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic took 81 lives in Georgia. Among its reported victims was a 4-year-old Richmond Hill girl who died in October of that year.
Flu season traditionally runs from October through April and few are predicting what this season will bring. But the Coastal Health District said the new vaccine will protect against three strains of flu – the influenza A H3N2 virus, influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
The flu virus is easily spread through coughs and sneezes and by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
That’s why good health habits are also important, including staying home when you’re sick; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; coughing or sneezing into your elbow and not your hand; washing your hands often with soap and water; and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Public health officials aren’t the only ones hoping people take flu season seriously.
Richmond Hill Pharmacy held its seventh annual health fair on Friday, drawing around 100 people for everything from cholesterol screenings and blood pressure checks to flu shots.
“We hold the health fair to raise awareness of public health. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible and help reduce the number of cases of people who get the flu,” said pharmacy owner Al Dixon. “The overall health of our community is extremely important to us.”
Flu shots are available at several locations, including by appointment at Richmond Hill Pharmacy, where they’re $25 but free with Medicare.
The Bryan County Health Department offers the vaccinations for $25 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are encouraged.      

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