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Flu Season

Flu Season

Flu season generally runs from October to February but can continue into May. It is caused by the influenza virus. Flu symptoms include sudden high fevers, headaches, muscle aches and joint pain, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and a runny nose, fatigue or stomach symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Before you get sick with the flu, getting the flu vaccine can be protective by helping you build immunity against the flu virus. The flu vaccine works by exposing your immune system to an inactive (killed) form of the flu virus. Your body will build up antibodies to the virus to protect you from getting the flu. The nasal spray vaccine contains active but weakened viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine.

All persons who are six months of age or older should get the flu vaccine. Also, pregnant women should get the vaccine. Some people who get the flu vaccine will still get the flu. Each year, the flu vaccine contains a different strain of the virus. The strains that are chosen are those that scientists believe are most likely to show up in the US that year.

If you get the flu after getting vaccinated, your flu symptoms may be milder than if you did not get the vaccine. If you get sick, stay home and try to isolate from others. If you are around others, cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands often to prevent spreading the flu. Wearing a mask is also helpful.

There are prescription medications that your doctor can give you for the flu if taken quickly enough after onset of symptoms. These medications can shorten the duration of your flu symptoms.
Other over-the-counter medications that can help include Tylenol, which can reduce fever and help with the body aches. Over the counter Nasal sprays or decongestants are helpful. For children, it is recommended that you consult with their physician for appropriate supportive care for their age group.