The flu is back, and if early signs are any indication of what is to come, it could be a rough ride. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that their epidemiologists are seeing the earliest start to flu season in almost a decade. States that are being hit especially hard include Rhode Island, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri. Early reports from parts of Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina and New York suggest that hospitals in many other regions are also experiencing overflowing emergency rooms with patients suffering from flu-like symptoms.

In theory the flu shot is a good match for the strains of flu circulating this year, and public health officials for the CDC are encouraging people to get their shots now before the flu peaks. Over the holiday season many people will be exposed to influenza viruses during visits to family and friends. Now more than ever people need to wash their hands when coming in contact with surfaces such as light switches, gas pumps, cell phones or TV remotes that may harbor flu viruses.

Those who start to develop symptoms may wish to consult our Guide to Colds, Coughs and the Flu for recommendations on treating symptoms with medications and home remedies.

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  1. PJ

    To eliminate mercury worries, many doctors offer a preservative-free flu vaccine. I get one every year. Also, if your GP doesn’t have a supply, you can always get one through an allergist.

  2. MB

    Better to be safe than sorry-imagine what would be the case if people turned down small pox vaccination? Remember the “black plague? and the disastrous flu epidemic of 1918 where entire families perished-? no vaccine then.

  3. DS

    I used to faithfully get a shot each year but for several years I haven’t. I started taking Vitamin D and probiotics and now I don’t get my usual bad cold in February. I do not trust the FDA to get anything right, nor the CDC.

  4. DW

    What about the merecury levels?

  5. nm

    In addition to cleansing your hands after using gas pumps, tv remotes, etc., have you ever considered the germs we are picking up when signing the automatic credit charge machine that we all do every time we make a credit purchase – – – particularly at the pharmacy desk – THEY HAVE ALCOHOL CLEANSING BOTTLES AT ALL OF THE CHECK OUT COUNTERS AT OUR REGULAR GROCERY STORE AND NONE AT THE PHARMACY – DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME – A GREAT PERCENTAGE OF THE PEOPLE WHO SIGN USING THOSE ATTACHED PENS ARE ILL!

  6. Joan T.

    Your article doesn’t mention any downside to taking flu vaccine. Seems like I have talked with a number of folks over the years who get what they may describe as a “mild” case of flu immediately after getting the injection. Sometimes it sounds to be not so mild.

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