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Protect yourself and your family from the flu

Flu season has arrived, however, you can reduce the impact of the flu on your family with a few simple steps.

The Centers for Disease Protection and Control recommends taking the following actions to prevent the spread of the flu.

Get a flu vaccine

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses for individuals ages six months and older.

Typically, influenza activity peaks in February and continues through April, so it is not too late to get a flu shot.

Those at high risk of serious flu complications should especially consider vaccination. This includes young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that year.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

Frequent hand washing is extremely important to preventing the spread of the flu. Also, try to avoid close contact with individuals who are ill. If you experience respiratory symptoms, limit your exposure to others and cover your mouth when you cough. If you have flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Avoid spreading germs by touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness. These are prescription medicines that are not available over-the-counter. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. According to the CDC, studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu.

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.


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