Preventing Flu in Georgia

The flu season in Georgia begins in early October and can run as late in the year as May.  The Georgia Department of Public Health recommends these practical steps to stay influenza-free during the fall and winter.   

  • Get the flu vaccine. Everyone six months-old and over should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community.  
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine.  DPH urges Georgians to get vaccinated against flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu, so it’s important to take preventive measures now.

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 on preventing the flu, visit dph.georgia.gov/seasonal-flu-influenza.

You can also track flu activity in Georgia at dph.georgia.gov/flu-activity-georgia.

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Commissioner's Corner

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health July 7, 2017, by Governor Nathan Deal. 

In addition to his role of commissioner, Dr. O’Neal serves as the director of Health Protection for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where he has oversight responsibility for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Trauma, Emergency Preparedness, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Immunizations and Environmental Health.

Since 2002, Dr. O’Neal has served as the medical director for the Office of EMS/Trauma in the Georgia Division of Public Health under the Department of Community Health (DCH). For 29 years prior, he practiced emergency medicine at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur. In his final seven years at DeKalb Medical Center, he served as the regional medical director for EMS throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Dr. O’Neal formerly served as director of the Outpatient Clinic at the Medical Center of Central Georgia for two years before his work at DeKalb.

He completed an undergraduate program at Davidson College in North Carolina and received his medical education at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Following medical school, he completed a rotating internship at Providence Hospital, Portland, Oregon, before entering the United States Air Force for training in flight medicine. Dr. O’Neal served as a flight surgeon in Viet Nam in 1970-71.

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