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Too late to get a flu shot? Not at all, said health care expert

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike urges everyone six months and older who has not been vaccinated to get their flu shot.

“The holiday season is in full swing, which can mean holiday parties with friends, family gatherings, or crowds of shoppers all looking for that perfect gift,” Ezike said in a news release from IDPH.

"Being in close quarters with many different people makes it easier for flu to spread. Protect yourself, as well as those around you who may be more vulnerable to serious flu illness, by getting your flu shot.”  

While it is difficult to predict how severe or how long the flu season will be, Illinois is seeing an increase in flu activity similar to previous flu seasons. 

Flu activity most commonly peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.

In addition to getting your flu vaccine, IDPH recommends following the 3 C’s: clean, cover, and contain.

• Clean – clean your hands frequently by washing your hands with soap and warm water.

• Cover – cover your cough and sneeze.

• Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

Flu viruses spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu usually comes on suddenly. 

People who have the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Several studies have found that flu vaccination can reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated, but still get sick.

Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for people who get sick with the flu, as they can lessen the duration and severity of symptoms and prevent flu complications, studies show.

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