Beware the flu this holiday season, Gwinnett.
“Especially this year, it looks like the flu is starting to hit this holiday season,” said Dr. Nicholas Bower, medical director at Gwinnett Medical Center’s ChoiceOne Urgent Care center.
He said the center has seen about a dozen flu cases over the past two weeks. That number may not drop much in the recent future, especially with holiday traveling and gatherings bringing people — and their germs — into close contact.
Bower said to look out for fever, cough, headache, congestion, sore throat and fatigue. Those symptoms point to the flu.
But the doctor does have a few tips for avoiding the flu and other germs this season.
“The most important thing over the holidays, especially now when it’s flu season, is to practice really good hygiene,” he said.
That means consistent hand washing. It also means coughing correctly.
“If you need to cough, make sure you cough into your shirt with a covered mouth,” Bower said.
Still, building up the body’s defenses could be more feasible than avoiding germs entirely over the holidays. Bower said it was “really important” to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle over the holidays, even if that doesn’t always feel possible. He suggested getting enough sleep and trying to keep up an exercise routine.
Bower also suggested trying to eat healthy — “trying” being the key word.
“I would say keep a good diet, but that’s kind of a joke because over the holidays it’s not always possible,” he said.
He suggested balancing holiday goodies with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
And then, there’s always the flu shot.
“It’s actually really important right now,” Bower said. “If you haven’t had a flu shot yet, go get one.”
ChoiceOne offers the flu shot for $20. The center is open every day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., except Christmas Eve when it's open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
It's closed Christmas Day.
But Gwinnett residents can also find flu shots at various Gwinnett County Health Department locations for $30. Shots are also given local Publix and Kroger pharmacy locations.