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Even healthy adults are not immune to the flu. Every year, 5-20% of adults get the flu.
There are three key ways to prevent getting infected: vaccination, good hygiene, and a healthy diet.
Getting vaccinated is the only prevention activity proven to reduce mortality rates caused by the flu.
Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will remove most germs, including the flu virus. Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces will also reduce germ transmission.
Eating nutritious food, exercising and getting enough rest helps keep your immune system in better shape to fight the flu.
Nothing protects you better than getting a flu shot. Although flu strains change year-to-year, so does the flu shot. Each year, a new flu vaccine is created to fight the flu strains expected to be the most prevalent this year. So make sure you get the flu shot every year to be protected.
October to April is flu season. The best time to get the flu shot is at the start of the season, so your body can build up immunity before being exposed to the virus.
As people get vaccinated, there is less of a chance that the flu virus can multiply and circulate. If you don’t get the flu, you can’t directly spread it to others around you.
The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. Flu shots are made with either inactivated virus or no flu virus at all, so are not infectious. The nasal spray flu vaccine is made with attenuated (weakened) live flu virus. Both flu shot and nasal spray vaccines boost your immune response against exposure to flu viruses, but do not cause flu illness itself.
Side effect from the flu vaccine are minor. The most comon side effect is minor soreness at the injection site.
Everyone 6 months of age or older should revceive an annual flu vaccination. Vaccination to prevent the flu is especially important for people at higher risk of complications if they do happen to get the flu. This includes people over 65 years of age, children under 5 years old, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities, and people with weakened immune systems or medical conditions, such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, neurological conditions and endocrine diseases, such as diabetes. As well, if you care for or live with people at risk from flu complications, you should also get vaccinated to protect those around you.
Those who should not get a flu vaccination include people who have had an anaphylactic reaction to previous immunizations, people with an anaphylactic hypersentisivity reaction to eggs, children under 6 months old and anyone with a fever at the time of vaccine administration.