The CDC says we're in for a severe flu season. 

The flu is spreading fast and furious this year and it's more severe than last season due to the dominant strain of H3N2.

There's also some bad news for those who get the flu vaccine, it's only 10 percent effective in preventing illness from H3N2. This strain is more severe and causes added hospitalizations and deaths. The CDC still suggests you get vaccinated as your illness will be milder if you get sick.

Another option is flu antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza but you do need to see your doctor for a prescription. These work best when they are started in the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. These drugs can reduce severe complications such as hospitalization and potentially death for people who are at high risk and include:

  • Children younger than 5 years (especially those younger than 2 years)
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease, and kidney disease.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue and one of the best ways to stay healthy is to simply wash your hands. You should also take these preventative actions.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

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