Health

What you need to know about flu prevention

How to stay healthy during this winter season

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Colder weather brings people together, and if not careful, can cause you to walk away with a cold or the flu.

“We see more cases in the winter months because in winter we’re indoors more and in closer contact,” NextCare national director Dr. Michael Kaplan said.

Throughout the holidays, parties and gatherings bring people closer together, increasing the likelihood of spreading germs and contracting illnesses. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the flu is a respiratory illness that affects nearly 200,000 Americans annually. Peaking in the winter months, January through April, the flu affects the body for 10-14 days, and it’s possible to pass the illness without knowing you have it.

According to the CDC’s key facts about Influenza, a healthy adult can infect others with the virus up to a day before showing symptoms and through seven day after becoming sick.

Contracted through exposure, common flu symptoms such as, coughing, fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches and feeling lethargic, can take up to four days to emerge and last through 14 days.

To prevent the flu, Kaplan suggests receiving one of two vaccines available. The shot, which is made up of proteins, not the virus, cannot infect recipients, but as it reacts in the body, it can cause it to feel rundown or tired.

If infected, Kaplan recommends staying home from school or work, intake plenty of fluids, and get rest. According to Kaplan, the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, whether through the shot or the nasal spray and to frequently wash hands.

“Immunization is recommended to everyone six months and older,” Kaplan said. “Getting immunized is the most important thing you can do.”

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