Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year.

Take 3 Steps to Fight the Flu!
1. Get Vaccinated! The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated.
2. Take Preventive Steps to Stop the Spread of Germs. Avoid contact with sick people, wash your hands often with soap & water and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
3. Take Flu Antiviral Drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

The Benefits of the Flu Vaccine (2015-2016):
1. Estimated flu illnesses prevented: 5 million
2. Estimated medical visits avoided: 2.5 million
3. Estimated hospital visits prevented: 71,000

In addition to getting your flu vaccine, regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.

5 Simple Steps to Effective Hand Washing:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu? Take this Quiz.

Yours in health,
Dr. Howard Epstein
Chief Medical Officer, PreferredOne

This information is provided by CDC.gov.