MAG encouraging Georgians to get flu vaccine by end of October 

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging Georgians to get vaccinated for the flu by the end of October. 

“It is essential for patients who are six months or older to get vaccinated for the flu once a year,” says MAG President Frank McDonald, M.D., M.B.A. “And they should ideally discuss their vaccination options with their primary care physician as a part of their overall health maintenance program.”

Dr. McDonald explains that, “The flu season doesn’t normally peak until January or February, but it takes time for the antibodies to develop in a patient’s body once they have been vaccinated – which means that it can take a month or two before they achieve the maximum level of protection.” 

He also notes that children who are between six months and eight years old require two doses of the flu vaccine – so they must wait four weeks before the second dose can be administered.

And Dr. McDonald points out that, “There is also an anti-viral medicine that patients can take, but patients need to do so within the first day or two of the first signs of having flu symptoms.”

Flu symptoms include high fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. Most people get better in a few days, but the flu can lead to pneumonia and other serious complications – and it does have the potential to be deadly. The most vulnerable populations include young patients, the elderly, and the immune-deficient. 

Dr. McDonald concludes that, “The best, most proven ways to prevent the flu are to use a hand sanitizer and thoroughly wash your hands with soap on a regular basis.”

Go to www.flu.gov, www.cdc.gov/flu or http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know for additional information on the flu and flu vaccines. 

Also click here to watch a ‘Move the Needle’ video that was produced by Sandra Fryhofer, M.D. – a graduate of the MAG Foundation’s Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy – to increase vaccination rates in Georgia.