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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Urge the Community to Get Flu Shots

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization or death. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against influenza is to get vaccinated every flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. A 2022 study shows flu vaccination reduces children’s risk of severe, life-threatening influenza by 75 percent. A 2021 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients had a 26 percent lower risk of intensive care unit admission and a 31 percent lower risk of death from flu compared with those who were unvaccinated.

“Fall doesn’t just signal a change in seasons. It’s also a time of year that historically brings an increase in respiratory illnesses such as flu, COVID-19 and the respiratory syncytial virus known as RSV,” said Dr. Warren Hutchings, medical director for Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care West Macon. “Fortunately, we have vaccines to help limit the spread of these diseases and reduce the risk for severe infection, which in some cases can cause hospitalization and death.”

Since vaccination is the most effective tool to protect yourself from severe illness this fall and winter, doctors at Atrium Health Navicent recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible, ideally before the end of October. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time. In addition to protecting yourself against the flu virus, getting a fluvaccine helps protect people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. If you have questions about vaccination, talk with your primary care provider.

Key reasons to get the flu vaccine

• Flu vaccination prevents illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations and deaths.

• Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease.

• Vaccinating pregnant women helps protect them from flu illness and hospitalization, and has been shown to help protect babies from flu infection for several months after birth, before babies can be vaccinated.

• Flu vaccination can be life-saving in children. A 2020 study found that during the 2018-2019 flu season, flu vaccination reduced flu-related hospitalization by 41 percent and flu-related emergency department visits by half among children.

• While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of the illness.

To schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, visit navicenthealth.org/online-scheduling. To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 150,000 team members across 67 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $5 billion in annual community benefits.