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The Flu Season Is Here:

What You Should Know About The Flu and Why The Flu Shot Won't Give You The Flu

By Laurie Rothman, M.D.
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When to get vaccinated?
The flu vaccine is available in September and vaccination can take place through the winter months. Peak influenza activity is usually in January or February.

Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes!  The flu vaccine is very safe and effective.  Flu vaccine does not cause the flu. People with a severe egg allergy to chicken eggs and those who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past should not get vaccinated.

What is the nasal spray vaccine?
Vaccination via nasal spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people ages 2-49 years old.

What are flu symptoms?
Symptoms may include: high fever, chills, fatigue; dry cough, muscle aches, headache, sore throat and runny nose. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are more likely to occur in children.

What are flu complications?

Yes, flu can be complicated by bacterial pneumonia, dehydration or worsening of a chronic illness.

What can you do if you get the flu?
1) Allow your body to fight the virus by resting as much as possible.
2) To keep your body hydrated, drink plenty of fluids such as water, fruit juice, tea and non-carbonated drinks.
3) To relieve nasal congestion, insert two drops of saline into each nostril as needed.
4) To relieve your sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.
5) Use a mist humidifier to increase air moisture.
6) For aching muscles, apply a warm, moist compress or moist heating pad.
7) Use non-prescription/over-the-counter cough syrups, nasal sprays or decongestants and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help provide some relief from your flu symptoms.  
8) Take the full course of antiviral medications prescribed by your doctor -- even if you feel better before your prescription runs out.
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Dr. Rothman is a Board Certified Family Physician with Healthy Families, a Juno Beach, Florida based practice, specializing in extraordinary, compassionate, primary healthcare to family members 10 years old and up.