Don't Let the Flu Take Hold!

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging Georgians to get vaccinated against the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Flu is already circulating in the state, so it is important to take preventive measures now.

 “The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine. Every healthy individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine," said Kathleen E. Toomey,  M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. "Even if the vaccine is not a perfect match, it can still help lessen the severity and length of flu symptoms if you do get sick."

Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, chills and fatigue. One of the most pronounced flu symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and malaise that comes on quickly.

There are other things you can do to help protect against flu, including:

  • Frequent and thorough hand-washing. Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if there is no access to soap and water.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread of the flu. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm.
  • Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work. Flu sufferers should be free of fever without the use of a fever reducer for at least 24 hours before returning to school or work.

If you do get sick and think you may have the flu, contact your health care provider right away. There are medications that can be used to treat flu but they are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.

For more information about flu and how to prevent it, log on to flu.gov.

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DPH Commissioner

Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., was appointed commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health by Governor Brian Kemp in March 2019. As commissioner, Dr. Toomey oversees 159 county health departments in 18 health districts, and various public health programs.

Before her appointment to commissioner, Dr. Toomey served as Director of the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. She led the department’s transition to become the Fulton County Board of Health and continuing as district health director until December 2018.

An epidemiologist and board-certified family practitioner, Dr. Toomey’s career in public health is long and distinguished, holding key leadership positions with the State of Georgia and both national and international leadership positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She served as the CDC’s Country Director in Botswana. In addition to other leadership positions with the CDC, Dr. Toomey previously served as the Director of the Division of Public Health with the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

Dr. Toomey earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Smith College. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied indigenous healing practices in Peru. Dr. Toomey earned her M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Harvard University. In 1985, Dr. Toomey was selected as a Pew Health Policy Research Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. While in San Francisco, she served on committees looking at the initial cases of emergent HIV. 
 

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