Preventing the Flu this Season

Flu season is right around the corner and the first step to staying healthy is getting your flu shot.

It’s recommended for those six months of age or older to get the flu vaccine, and is highly suggested for the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

“Many people think that they can become ill from the flu vaccine, and that’s simply not the case,” said Dr. Rashmi Chugh, a medical officer at DuPage County Health Department. “The flu virus component in the vaccine is inactivated and doesn’t cause illness. Your body mounting an immune response might for a day or two make you think that you’re, you might feel that you’re a little under the weather. But it’s actually just your body’s response developing immunity to influenza, which is a good thing.”

Dr. Chugh says practicing good hand hygiene and cough etiquette are other steps to help you avoid the virus, especially this time of year.

“I would say about 80 percent of flu seasons typically peak after January,” said Dr. Chugh. “So we recommend that people get vaccinated, ideally by the end of October. But it’s not too late, even if they haven’t been vaccinated anytime through the season. Particularly during and after the holidays, as in the winter months, we’re close together indoors we want to try to prevent transmission.”

If you do find yourself with abrupt fever, sore throat, fatigue and muscle aches, you may have the flu. In that case, consult your physician so you can start an antiviral treatment as soon as possible. Then stay at home to rest up.

You can find the nearest locations for where you can get a flu vaccine on vaccinefinder.org.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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