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Flu Season 2007 
Monday, 15 October 2007 

Fall has arrived and so has flu season.

The flu, characterized by fever, chills, a dry cough, muscle aches and extreme fatigue, kills approximately 36,000 people in the United States annually.

"The best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Antonio Ramos, a physician with Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center. "I would encourage everyone, especially children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, to get a flu shot."

Some people are leery of getting a flu shot because they believe that the vaccination will give them the flu, added Ramos.

"This simply isn't true.  You may develop flu-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever and muscle aches, but will not get the flu from getting the flu shot."

There are two types of vaccines: a "flu shot," an inactivated strain of influenza injected by a needle and a nasal-spray flu vaccine -- a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses. The nasal-spray vaccine (FluMist®) is recommended for healthy children and adults (ages 2 to 49).  It is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

"October and November are the best times to get a flu shot," said Ramos. "But if you choose to wait until December or January, the vaccination will still be effective."

In addition to getting a flu shot, Ramos provides the following tips for staying healthy this winter:

  • Wash hands before eating, touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Wash hands after touching anyone who has sneezed, is coughing or has a runny nose
  • Wash hands after using the restroom
  • Do not share towels, lipsticks, toys, eating utensils, drinking glasses or anything else that might be contaminated with respiratory germs
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