It’s that time of year again
As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. This National Influenza Vaccination Week, remember to get a flu vaccine now if you have not gotten vaccinated yet this season. Influenza (flu) is a serious disease caused by a virus and it can make you feel miserable! Fever, cough, shaking chills, body aches, and extreme weakness are common symptoms. You can catch the flu from people who cough, sneeze, or even just talk around you. It is very contagious!
Flu is dangerous
Tragically, each year, infants, children, teens, and adults die from the flu. The virus is very unpredictable so no one knows how deadly it will be each year. Even if you have a mild case of the flu, you can still pass it on to your friends, family, and coworkers who could get very sick or even die. The flu is most dangerous for people with health conditions like heart and lung disease, the very young and very old, and pregnant women. But anyone can become seriously sick from influenza – even young, healthy people.
How can you protect yourself and your loved ones?
1. Get your flu shot!
Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu. Flu shots help prevent serious flu illness. Not only can it prevent you from getting the flu entirely, it can also protect you to make sure you don’t get as sick if you do get the flu. Getting your flu shot reduces your risk of being admitted to the ICU for flu by 82%. By getting your flu shot, you are also protecting your family, friends, and community, including babies that are too young to be vaccinated.
Make sure you and your loved ones get your flu shot every year. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot.
The flu shot is especially important for groups at high risk of serious flu complications including:
- Pregnant women
- People over 65
- People with health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease
2. Don't spread the flu!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds… the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, not your hands. Toss used tissues. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into you elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- If you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
3. Use antivirals (if needed).
If you get the flu, prescription antiviral drugs can help you not get as sick and help you feel better sooner. They can also help prevent flu complications, like pneumonia. If you are at high risk, contact your health care provider at the first sign of the flu. Antivirals work best if used to treat flu early.
Where can you get your flu shot?
Influenza vaccine is now available for this flu season. Visit your healthcare provider or a local pharmacy to get your flu shot. You can also use the Flu Vaccine Finder tool below to find places to get your flu shot.
Learn more about the flu: