It's about that time of the year again when flu symptoms start to appear in people all over the country. One way to prevent such a fate is to get the flu vaccine, but doctors say that it might not protect you from every strain.
CBS Chicago reports that the current flu vaccine is matching only about half of the flu cases seen this year. In other words, you have a 50/50 chance of getting the flu this year even with the vaccine. That doesn't mean you should pass on the vaccine this year. On the contrary, doctors still recommend the flu vaccine as the first defense in protecting yourself and your loved ones from a disease that kills 40,000 Americans each year.
So, what more can you do to protect yourself from the flu this year? The first thing is to watch for symptoms. The flu generally manifests itself as a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose and muscle aching. In children, the flu can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. When these signs first appear, doctors recommend that you start taking antiviral medications immediately. If you can start treating the flu in its early stages, you'll only have to deal with a mild illness instead of the prolonged weeks long flu that we all know and loathe.
While it's recommended that you get the flu vaccine, you can play with fire and take your chances. If that's the case, be sure to check if you're living in a state with low flu activity. Google has a handy site that tracks flu activity state by state. For instances, the Northeast and Northwest both seem to be least affected by the flu whereas those in the Midwest and Southeast have the highest number of flu victims.
For more information, you can also follow the CDC's flu Twitter account. The government body tweets tips on flu prevention daily and keeps citizens updated on what the flu is up to.