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Monday, September 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Flu Season Upon Us

Labor Day has barely passed, marking the unofficial end of summer. Yet public health officials and doctors’ offices are already pushing flu shots, telling patients it’s not too early to get vaccinated.

The Southwest Public Health District based in Albany started it’s flu-season push right after Labor Day. Director Jacqueline Grant said the vaccine is already available, so they want to start getting it out to residents.

Flu season really begins next month, but it takes about two weeks for the immunization to be effective. Grant said there’s no way to predict how severe the season will be, but she said the H1N1 flu pandemic a few years ago hit her region hard.

“A lot of people in our area have chronic diseases, so we actually had a pretty significant outbreak down here in south Georgia,” Grant said.

Logan Boss from the Northwest Public Health District based in Rome said everyone over six months old should get vaccinated.

“We simply can’t say what this season will be like. Last year was one of the mildest flu seasons on record. But you never can really characterize a flu season until you’re looking at it in the rearview mirror,” Boss said.

In addition to the traditional flu shot and a nasal mist, the flu vaccine is also now available as a pin-prick injection just under the skin for some adults. Boss says the new needle is one-tenth the size of the usual one.

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