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Piedmont Athens Regional/St. Mary's Team Up to Fight Flu

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NPR
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Two Athens hospitals are working together to help residents fight the flu.

Experts at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary’s Health Care System are urging area residents to take precautions to protect themselves from the flu this season.

“We kind of hope that our message combine will be well-received by the community and that it will better stress the importance of getting a flu vaccine.”

That’s Sydney Walker with Piedmont Athens Regional, she says both facilities recommend getting a flu shot.

“Experts at Piedmont Athens absolutely advise that the most effect way to protect yourself against the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine.”

"The flu vaccine protects your body against what research suggests will be the most common virus that flu season, and what our experts have said is that the flu vaccine works by triggering your immune system to fight the flu virus if you are exposed. Which is why it makes it the best method.”

Walker says a flu shot is a priority, but are other measures you can take to minimize your risk.

“Good prevention actions: covering your nose and mouth when you cough, avoid close contact with sick people, making sure you’re disinfecting surfaces that might be contaminated with germs.”

She says there are some things you can do if you do come down with the virus, including medications that can make symptoms milder or shorten the duration of the illness.

“Also, if you suspect that you might have the flu, definitely consider seeing your primary care physician," Walker said.  "There are medications that can make your flu illness milder or shorten the time you are sick, these are called antivirals, and they might also prevent serious flu complications that could come if you do get sick.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public health, flu numbers are beginning to rise in the state.

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