How to fight off the flu

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Flu shot

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 5-20% of Americans contract the flu each year.

Flu season traditionally begins in September and lasts until spring begins, peaking in January or February.

The flu can keep you down for a week or two, but steps for prevention can be taken to lessen the likelihood of falling ill.

Flu facts

Influenza, or flu for short, can be spread through contact with another person’s germs that contain the virus, like through droplets made when a person sneezes, coughs or talks. These droplets may land in another person’s mouth or nose, causing the virus to spread. The flu can also be found on surfaces and objects. Touching your mouth, nose or eyes is how the virus is transferred.

Best defense

The flu vaccine is the best defense against the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The agency recommends that everyone over the age of six months gets the flu vaccine each year. However, some people may argue against getting the flu vaccine.

If you have chronic health issues, like cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes or arthritis, it is recommended that you get a flu shot. Children, especially those under the age of 2, and adults over the age of 65 should also get a flu shot.

Penn State University offers more information about the flu vaccine.

Get vaccinated

If you have decided to get a flu shot, there are numerous locations where flu shots are given, including local grocery stores and pharmacies as well as big names like Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid.

Check out HealthMap Vaccine Finder for a list of locations that provide the flu vaccine.

Treatment

The flu can cause many symptoms and complications, and it can lead to death. The CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides key facts about the flu.

Ohio State University Extension recommends maintaining a healthy, balanced diet throughout flu season in order to fend off the virus. Eating foods packed with protein and vitamins A, C and E can help the immune system and fight infections.

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