Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children and to older adults. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza
If we don't take the right precautions, odds are that up to one in five of us will catch the flu in any given flu season.
For most of us, having the flu means suffering at home for a week or two, then pulling ourselves out of bed to get on with our lives as usual. But the flu can be serious, even deadly, particularly for anyone with a health condition like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
Before the flu can knock you out, you can deliver the first punch. Here are proven strategies to help you avoid flu germs -- and the misery of a flu
Experts say the single best way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your area. The ideal time to get your flu shot is early fall. But any time during the winter is fine if you haven't already gotten it.
The vaccine is engineered to protect against the flu strains health experts believe will be most widespread each season.
Several types of flu vaccines are available:
Don't try to make excuses for skipping the flu vaccine. Your arm might be a little sore the next day. And you may feel a little achy or run a low fever afterward. But you can't catch the flu from the vaccine, because it contains a weakened or killed form of the virus.
In case you do get sick, ask your doctor about antiviral flu drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). They can help you get better faster. But you need to take them within the first two days of getting sick.
If you do come down with the flu this season, be considerate. The flu is contagious for up to a week after you get sick. Don't share germs with your friends, family, and co-workers.
Follow these tips to keep the flu from spreading to others:
Stay home until you are feeling better and your fever has been gone (without the help of medicine) for at least 24 hours.
Whenever you sneeze, do it into your elbow -- not your hand, where you can pass it around.
After you blow your nose, throw out your used tissues. Don't leave them lying around for someone else to find.
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Thank you CDC and WebMD for this helpful article.