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10 Things to Know about the Flu and the Vaccine

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 04:40 PM EDT

With the flu season already here, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending all people over the age of six-months to get the vaccine. Even though the flu vaccine is available every year, some people still do not know enough about the flu and the vaccine to be encouraged to go and get it.

Here are 10 things to know about the flu and its vaccine:

1. You can get the flu even though you are vaccinated

The CDC estimated that this year's vaccine has an effectiveness rate of between 70 and 90 percent. This means that even though you got your shot, you can still get influenza.

2. You can be contagious before symptoms show up

People with the flu can infect others up to one day before their symptoms start. In order to prevent the spread of the flu, practice good hygiene, such as hand washing and covering your mouth.

3. There is a mercury-free flu vaccine

For people who are worried about thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative commonly used in vaccines, there is a mercury-free option. However, several studies have found that low levels of thimersoal are harmless and therefore, all options are safe to pick from.

4. There are needle-free options

There are two needle free flu vaccines available for people with a fear of needles. The first one is a nasal spray that is recommended for children between the ages of two and eight but is also available for people between the ages of two and 49. The second option is a needle-free injector approved for adults aged 18 to 64.

5. There is a high-dose vaccine

For adults over the age of 65, there is a high-dose vaccine option. Since the elderly is particularly vulnerable to the flu due to their compromised immune system, getting this vaccine could be beneficial.

6. Virus can travel up to six feet

You do not need to be right next to a sick person to catch the flu. Evidence has shown that the flu virus can travel up to six feet.

7. Wash your hands correctly

Hand-washing is extremely important in preventing the spread of germs. In order to make sure that your hands are clean, you have to wash it with soap and warm water for about 15 to 20 seconds.

8. You can exercise with the flu

If you are flu-ridden with mild symptoms, you can still exercise. Just remember to listen to your body and stop if you are feeling too tired. It is also better to exercise lightly and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

9. At-home remedies can help

If you fall into the small group of people who get the flu, at-home remedies can help temporarily relieve symptoms. Some of these remedies include drinking soup, tea and hot water, bathing in hot water, gurgling salt-water mixture, and taking cough drops.

10. Some OTC nasal sprays can be addictive

When you have a stuffy nose, nasal sprays can become a lifesaver. These sprays help open up the nasal passageway. However, be aware that there are some over-the-counter (OTC) nasal spray options that can become addictive. Since the relief might only be temporary, you could be tempted to use them repeatedly, leading to addiction.

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