The flu strikes 1 in 5 people each year, causing fever, body aches and misery.
The best treatment? Prevention. Get the flu vaccine in early fall to give yourself
the most protection. However, you still can benefit if you get your flu shot mid-winter.
Find the flu
clinic nearest you, or call your primary care family nurse practitioner for an
Seasonal influenza is caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching items a sick person has touched. Though common, the flu is dangerous for people with weak immune systems. About 200,000 people a year end up in the hospital with flu complications.
Fortunately, studies have proven that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for the vast majority of people. If you want to know more, find out about the types of flu shots and vaccine safety.
Some people are especially vulnerable to flu, including young children, senior
citizens and people with compromised immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly advise pregnant women to get vaccinated as well, since they’re more likely to have complications that require hospitalization. Learn more about pregnancy and the flu.
What if you get a flu shot and still get the flu? Unfortunately, it happens. For the best home care, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. Because the flu is caused by viruses, not bacteria, antibiotics won’t help. Depending on your unique situation, your family nurse practitioner might also recommend a prescription anti-viral medication.
Find out more about treating the flu – including when to seek medical help.