As of Friday, January 11, 2013
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Influenza may be tracking downward in our region, but there's no guarantee that the peak has been hit. And those who have not been vaccinated and who who haven't been infected are taking quite a gamble.
We're just now entering the traditionally busy months for the infection. If you get vaccinated today, it'll still be two weeks before you get the full protection of the vaccine, which officials say is a pretty good match for the primary strains that are going around. Getting vaccinated is a small insurance policy against an infection that could be spread to loved ones and co-workers, causing additional strain on others.
In addition, following some good, old-fashioned advice from our parents and grandparents can help. The chance of spreading the virus is reduced by thoroughly washing hands with warm, soapy water or using alcohol-based sanitizers. Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze can help keep the virus from getting airborne to some degree. If you know someone who has the flu, give him or her some space. Patients need to be fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the help of a fever medicine) before returning to work or school. Any objects that someone with the flu comes in contact with should be cleaned and disinfected before reuse.
The influenza this season has reached epidemic levels, and while it's tapering off in Southwest Georgia, that could be a calm before a storm. Getting vaccinated is the least you can do for your own health, and the health of others.
-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board