The Flu Season is Upon Us

WASHINGTON — It may be the holiday season, but it also is the flu season. American Indians and Alaska Natives have been found to be at a higher risk for complications from the flu than their non-Native counterparts.

American Indians and Alaska Natives have high risk of developing complications from the flu

American Indians and Alaska Natives have high risk of developing complications from the flu

There are ways to reduce your risk of the flu, and maybe even prevent it. Getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect you and your family from the illness. Vaccination is recommended for people 6 months of age or older. Children, pregnant women, seniors and people with medical conditions like asthma and diabetes are all at high risk for being diagnosed with the flu.

Ways to reduce the risk of the flu

These common sense tips are steps you can take in your daily life to help protect you from getting the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

The Flu Vaccine is Safe

Flu vaccine is safe

Flu vaccine is safe

People have been receiving flu vaccines for more than 50 years, and hundreds of millions of people have safely received seasonal flu vaccines. Each year, CDC works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

The flu vaccine—shot or spray—does not cause flu illness; however, it can cause mild side effects that may be mistaken for flu. For example, people vaccinated with the flu shot may feel achy and may have a sore arm where the shot was given. People vaccinated with the nasal spray flu vaccine may have a stuffy nose and sore throat. These mild side effects are NOT the flu. If experienced at all, these effects are usually mild and last only 1-2 days.

Since influenza viruses are always changing and immunity wanes over time, it is important to get a flu vaccine every season.

 

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