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The Flu season has arrived, and it is expected to be widespread this year.
Influenza, commonly referred to as the Flu, is a serious respiratory infection that can cause hospitalizations and death. According to the CDC, between 3,000 to 49,000 people die annually from seasonal influenza.
Adults 65 and older, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions are more likely to experience severe symptoms of the Flu. The Flu can lead to severe complications including pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, sepsis, inflammation of the heart and brain, asthma attacks and in some cases death.
The best defense against the flu is the flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of six months receive a seasonal flu vaccine. The best time to obtain the vaccine is in the early fall. Typically in September or October. Immunity from the vaccine takes approximately two weeks to develop. By receiving the vaccine early in the fall, immunity is present by the time flu season begins.
Besides receiving the flu vaccine, it is important to avoid people who are sick with flu-like symptoms. Stay home from work and school if you have symptoms of the flu. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and also teach children to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, if soap and water is not available use alcohol hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces and objects frequently. See your doctor and use medications as prescribed.
Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Influenza (Flu). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/