Fulton County health officials addressed the condition of the current flu outbreak Tuesday morning with an update on the availability of flu shots to the public.
The county's top doctor said the nasty bug has hit Georgia harder this year than any time in the last decade.
Dr. Patrice Harris said if you haven't had one yet, you should get a flu shot.
"Clearly this is no laughing matter. The epidemic across this county shows that the flu is serious," said Harris.
Dave Ricks was the first in line to get his flu shot at the Fulton County building Tuesday morning.
"I got a grand baby at home and also a lot of my co-workers have been getting the touch of the flu and I said to myself, 'I need to make sure I'm strong for the team,'" said Ricks.
After a mild flu season in 2012, this year the influenza virus returned stronger than ever with a new Influenza-A virus called H3-N2. As in past years, doctors said that children and the elderly are most at risk.
"Older people, because when they get it, it's a more serious issue for them because of existing medical conditions and children because they've never seen this virus before. So it tends to be more severe," said Harris.
Across the country, some drug stores and doctor's offices have reported running low on flu vaccines, if not out completely.
"I think a lot of people are using urgent care centers, they're using their doctor's office," said Thomas Steven Upshaw at Piedmont Hospital. "If you look at the statistics, it's really a pretty bad flu outbreak at this time.
Doctors said getting the flu shot is the best preventive measure, but good hygiene is another.
"Hand washing, hand washing, hand washing, hand washing," said Harris.
Ricks has already heeded the advice and hopes others do the same
"They need to do it if they want to protect their health. It's one of those things. Life is just too short in terms of health and what's important," said Ricks.
Fulton County has six health clinics that offer flu shots for $25 apiece.
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