The Flu

FluBetween 5 percent and 20 percent of Americans will get hit by the flu bug this year, but some simple precautions can keep you from becoming one of that number

The flu shot is the most effective method of preventing the flu. It’s important to get your shot early in the flu season — October and November — and to get a shot every year. Everyone is eligible for a flu shot, and many places offer it for little or no cost.

If you do start to feel symptoms of the flu:
* fever (usually high)
* headache
* extreme tiredness
* dry cough
* sore throat
* runny or stuffy nose
* muscle aches
* Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults, get extra rest and drink plenty of fluids — at least a quart of water every day. Proper hydration and nutrition can help lessen flu symptoms.

If you have the flu, try not to spread it to people around you. Flu viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing. Most people can spread the flu beginning one day before symptoms develop to up to five days after they become ill.

If you do have symptoms, stay home from work or school and avoid public places. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Take steps to protect yourself from getting the flu. If you use public transit or work in a crowded place, disinfect your hands regularly and avoid close contact with people who appear to have flu symptoms .