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Healthy Living » Hello, Flu Season!
Hello, Flu Season!
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Hello, Flu Season!

Don't put off getting your flu vaccine this year. Flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. It most commonly peaks in the US in January or February.

Not everybody who gets the flu has the same symptoms, but common ones include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get a vaccination. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated every year, with only very rare exceptions. Generally, the only people who should not be vaccinated are those who've had a severe reaction to a flu vaccination in the past. People who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should discuss flu vaccination with their doctor. So should people who are allergic to eggs. The CDC says some people with egg allergies can safely get the vaccine.

Flu can be dangerous

For most people, the flu ranges from a mild to a severe sickness, and then they get better. But others can develop complications that include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. At times, the flu can even lead to death.

People with certain medical conditions, including cancer, are at a higher risk for flu-related complications. That makes it even more important for cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers to get the seasonal flu vaccination. Cancer patients and survivors who think they have the flu, or have been near someone else who has it, should call their doctor right away. Doctors can't cure the flu, but they can prescribe antiviral drugs that help you get better faster. If you're in active treatment for cancer, check with your doctor before getting the flu shot.

Keep germs from spreading

The CDC recommends taking these additional actions to avoid getting sick if you're healthy, and avoid spreading germs if you're sick with the flu or other flu-like illness:

•  If you're healthy, try to avoid close contact with sick people.
•  While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
•  Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
•  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
•  Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
•  Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
•  Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
Where to Get a Flu Vaccination