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Get Ahead of Flu Season

Summer is coming to an end, leaves are starting to fall and school is about to start. They are all signs that flu season is just around the corner. Flu can occur at any time, but the illness usually hits between October through May, with January and February being the most common months. Before dealing with the fever, chills, muscle aches and stomach pains; learn how to prevent it.

Get a flu shot

Pharmacies and clinics are now offering flu shots. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say getting the shot sooner rather than later is always best. They advise getting the shot before December to be most effective. All people 6 months of age and older should get flu vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and their close contacts, including healthcare personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months.

Mild flu season last year

Last year was one of the mildest flu seasons on record, said Dr. Lisa Grohskopf, a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division. Despite last year’s low number of flu cases, Grohskopf says people should still get a flu shot. “We know the flu is unpredictable, so we can’t say what this season will be like,” Grohskopf tells The Miami Herald.

About 132 million immunizations were given in 2011-12, covering about 45 percent of adults.

Flu shots needed every year

There is some misconception that the flu vaccine isn’t needed every year. That’s not the case. Each year experts examine flu trends and decide which strains will be most prevalent. Flu shots are then designed to prevent the strains of flu that are expected to do the most damage. So, last year’s shot will not protect a person for this year’s flu season.