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What to know about flu season

Flu season begins in the U.S in October and it’s imperative to try and stay as healthy as possible. Every year the flu season’s timing, length and severity varies because a different virus can appear each year.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness. It brings on mild to severe illness that can sometimes even lead to death.

It normally comes on suddenly and can often come with the following symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

Vomiting and diarrhea is more common in children.

It is recommended by the CDC that any person that is 6 months or older should get a yearly flu vaccine. Which can help protect against the main season’s viruses. It is recommended that people get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October.

Complications from a flu can include Pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death. Some people are at a higher risk for complications from influenza these include:

  • People with asthma
  • People with diabetes
  • People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have HIV or AIDS
  • People who have cancer
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old

While the vaccine is the main preventative action to avoid influenza, there are still some every day preventive actions:

  • Try to avoid contact with sick people
  • Stay home for 24 hours after the fever is gone except to visit your primary care physician.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs really spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may be contaminated.
  • Keep in touch with your physician for recommendations on any seasonal outbreak.

Some of these easy actions can help slow down the spread of germs and offer some protection against the flu.