How to protect yourself with flu season starting

(Photo: ZaldyImg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0, Pixabay via MGN Online)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Flu season is upon us. Health officials said last year was one of the worst seasons, lasting until May. They're also warning that this upcoming one will be just as unpredictable.

Even though getting the flu seems common, Dayton and Montgomery County Health Supervisor Dan Suffoletto said its severity must not be understated.

“They may get sick recover and then think of it’s no big deal,” Suffeletto said. “But people do die from the flu and people are at risk.”

Last year 179 kids died from the flu, and 80 percent of those deaths were in unvaccinated children. Officials said getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

“It is recommended everyone 6 months and above gets a flu shot,” he said.

Many people who didn't get vaccinated last year got sick with flu strain A and recovered, only to get sick with flu strain B weeks later.

“Get a flu vaccination and you want to do it early,” Suffoletto said. “Get it as soon as possible that way you can have the longest time of protection.”

Last year during flu season, which is October through May, about 17,400 Ohioans were hospitalized from the flu according to the Center for Disease Control. During those months, experts are encouraging people to be extra conscientious of keeping good hygiene.

Officials stress that it's important to remember the shot will not completely protect you.

“The flu shot in itself is not 100 percent effective, but it does reduce the symptoms if you do get the flu,” Suffoletto said.

Dayton and Montgomery Health Department, CVS and select Kroger locations are offering free flu shots. This heath department is also offering a mist option this year for children who are afraid of shots.

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