Health officials are warning that the flu season could be bad and that it's coming early.
A flu vaccine in an average year has an effectiveness rate of between 40 and 60 percent. National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians to get their flu vaccine. Football season is flu season, and your best line of defense is to get vaccinated against the virus.
Influenza can be a serious disease that leads to hospitalization and sometimes death.
The virus is now widespread in four states.
"Our pharmacists are on the frontlines of healthcare in the communities they serve, and when it comes to fighting the flu, as certified immunizers, they can be a patient's first line of defense", stated Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy.
Each year, scientists try to determine which strains of the flu will be prevalent.
Clean - Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established National Influenza Vaccination Week in 2005 to raise awareness about the importance of flu vaccination, even after the end of November.
The vaccination can help lessen the severity of the illness, which is important for children and people over the age of 50 with underlying health conditions, as these populations are more likely to suffer from flu complications like pneumonia. Many physicians, pharmacies, employers, schools, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines.
Dr. Lopez says one reason is because not everybody responds to the vaccine.