Chances are you’ve had the Influenza virus, or flu, at least once in your lifetime. The fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, head and body aches, chills, fatigue, and nausea or vomiting associated with the flu can put you out of commission for a week or more. While colds and flus tend to have similar symptoms, flus tend to be more severe. Children, senior citizens, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions should look into getting the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in their areas.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends every person older than 6 months of age get a flu vaccine. Flu shots cause antibodies inside your body to recognize and protect against the flu virus.

You can track the flu throughout the United States using the CDC’s Influenza Summary Update Map.

If you do catch the flu, make sure to follow all instructions by your health care provider including taking medications. If at any point you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, persistent vomiting, confusion, seizures, chest or abdominal pain, or discolored lips, you should seek medical assistance immediately.

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