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Posted: December 15, 2012 5:40 p.m.

Flu activity rising, officials urge residents to get vaccinated

A trip to the doctor and a package of Tamiflu are probably not on anyone's Christmas list.

Unfortunately, this year the flu has arrived just in time for the holidays and is taking its toll.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported this week that "flu activity" has increased across the nation over the last two weeks.

Flu levels in Georgia have been considered moderate, according to the CDC, compared to high levels reported in nearby states like Alabama and Tennessee.

Nonetheless, health officials recommend residents take precautions by encourage everyone to get a flu vaccine.

"When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself and those around you. You can pass the flu to someone else before you even know you are sick. Flu vaccinations are the best way to prevent the flu in our community," said Linda Davis, RN, BSN, Director of Clinic Services for Newton Rockdale and Gwinnett County Health Departments.

Other than getting the vaccine, there are everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu: wash your hands often with soap and water; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and then throw it away; avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, since germs can pass this way and; avoid close contact with sick people. Most importantly, if you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid spreading the flu to others.

The seasonal flu shot and nasal spray are $25; High-Dose flu vaccines are $50. For payment, the Health Department accepts cash, debit cards, credit cards, Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BlueChoice and PPO). United Healthcare and Cigna are also accepted for state employees.

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