Though we might not be able to barricade our doors until it blows over, there are precautions we can to keep from catching the bug.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a flu vaccination is the best defense against the flu, especially for children and older adults. Flu symptoms can develop into pneumonia, which can be fatal.
The CDC reports that the flu shot is the only vaccine being offered for this strain of the flu for 2016-2017, because the nasal vaccine is not as effective.
Covering your cough, washing your hands often, and disinfecting your home and work space can help prevent germs from spreading. Staying home from work and school when symptoms first appear can deter the spread of germs, as well.
But how do you know if it's the flu or just a cold?
According to the CDC, Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. The flu is different from a cold, because the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue, feeling tired
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days, but symptoms can last two weeks. Some people will develop complications, such as pneumonia and sinus infections.
It's not too late to receive the vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. More than 144 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed this season, according to the CDC.
CDC also recommends prompt treatment for people who are sick with flu, or people who are at high risk of getting the flu.
If you have any flu symptoms, see your doctor immediately. For more information, visit CDC.gov.