Flu season has begun! Here are some facts about the flu that you can use to protect yourself and your family!
When is flu season?
Flu season typically occurs in the fall and winter, starting in October and peaking in January/February.
What is the flu?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.”
How do I know if I have the flu?
If you have the flu you may experience all or just some of these symptoms: Coughing, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, fever, chills, sore throat and runny nose. There are also tests available at your doctor’s office to diagnose the flu as well.
How could I get the flu?
The main way the flu is spread is when tiny droplets made from people coughing or sneezing with the flu are transferred to someone else. Coughing alone can force out thousands of tiny droplets of saliva which can travel several feet! In fact, one cough can expel 3,000 droplets that fly out at 50 mph! Another way it can spread is if you touch a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose. This is why it is so important to wash your hands often when you are sick or around people who are sick!
Am I at high risk for the flu?
Anyone, healthy or sick, can get the flu. But the elderly, pregnant women and young children have a higher risk of getting flu-related complications.
How can I prevent the flu?
The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine every year. If you can you should stay away from folks that are sick, wash your hands often, do not rub your eyes or touch your mouth with your hands and be sure to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.
Where can I get the flu vaccine?
Check out this link where all you have to do is type in your zip code and it will tell you all the available locations you can get the flu vaccine near you! http://www.flu.gov/resources/widgets/