Ways to prevent getting the flu this season

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - It’s that time of year again- flu season. It was a deadly one last year and so now is the time to make sure you are vaccinated.

“With the influenza vaccination we can often prevent infection and if somebody does happen to get influenza, then their symptoms are typically a lot less severe than somebody who did not get the vaccination,” says Joel Moore, D.O., a family medical physician at Meridian Medical Association.

The common cold and the flu can have many of the same symptoms, but there are key differences.

“Some of the differentiation comes with the onset of symptoms,” Dr. Moore says. “A common cold typically has a slower onset, with the flu-like symptoms being a more abrupt onset; and typically there’s more muscle aches and headaches associated with a flu virus.”

A developing or weakening immune system puts certain groups at a higher risk of getting the flu.

“People that are considered more at-risk are often children less than 2, people with chronic diseases such as heart disease and respiratory diseases, pregnant women, and people older than 65,” Dr. Moore says.

With the flu shot and proper hygiene, you can help yourself stay healthy this winter.

“So some basic hygiene, washing hands, covering your cough, avoiding people that may also be sick are some basic things we can do on a daily basis to prevent catching the flu,” Dr. Moore explains.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everybody over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccine every year.