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October Marks the Beginning of Flu Season

(Jay Inslee. Flickr Commons)

Special to The Times

(Jay Inslee. Flickr Commons)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October marks the beginning of flu season in the United States. It is recommended that everyone over 6 months old receive a flu vaccination before the end of the month.

This vaccine is the most effective method to avoid the dangerous illness that becomes a problem in the autumn months.

The Flu Shot

Each fall you probably notice the heightened flu-vaccine awareness in your area. Hospitals, health clinics and even employers hold their own clinics to offer the important vaccination. Do yourself, your family and others in your community a favor by taking advantage of the flu shot.

The shot works by causing important blood proteins called antibodies to develop in your body.

Working together with viruses contained in the vaccine, these antibodies create an effective level of protection against flu infection.

These antibodies begin developing about two weeks after receiving the vaccine, so, it’s important to get vaccinated early in the fall before the flu season is in full force.

Other Methods of Protection

While a vaccination is a proven method of protection from the flu, it still is possible to contract the illness. Factors such as age and your current health can lessen the level of effectiveness. That’s why it also is extremely important to take other measures to keep you and yours healthy this flu season. Below are some tips from the CDC on how to do just that.

  • Avoid close contact with people who have developed a contagious illness;
  • If you feel like you are experiencing flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the usage of fever-reducing medications;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often; and
  • Keep surfaces and objects clean with bacteria-killing disinfectants.

Symptoms and Risks

Commonly known as the flu, influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, but the flu can lead to death if left untreated.

Most cases of influenza include a fever, sore throat and fatigue. If you haven’t been vaccinated and notice these symptoms during the flu season, seek medical help immediately.