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Here's How You Can Protect Yourself Before This Flu Season Hits

By Angely Mercado | August 15, 2016 2:14pm | Updated on September 14, 2016 10:25am
 A patient receives a flu shot in preparation of NYC's cold and flu season.
A patient receives a flu shot in preparation of NYC's cold and flu season.
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Getty Images/ Robert Giroux

If you don't want to catch the flu this season, you might want to start prepping now.

Flu season usually hits from October to mid-May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it's not possible to predict how bad the disease will be this year, there are some steps the CDC recommends you take to keep influenza at bay or effectively treat it.

Get Vaccinated Early

► Get a flu vaccine a little before the season begins in October. This may help you stave off the disease during the height of winter.

► If you are pregnant, elderly or have a compromised immune system you're strongly urged to get vaccinated yearly. 

► While you can go to your doctor for the shot, you don't necessarily need to. Use this Flu Locator which includes pharmacies and clinics to find where vaccines are being administered.

If You Get the Flu

► Prescription antiviral medication such as Tamiflu can help your body fight off serious illness, according to the city's health department. They are most effective when taken 48 hours after symptoms show up, but can still work if taken later.

► Anyone who has a compromised immune system, is over 65, under two, or is pregnant can consider taking antiviral medication under a doctor's supervision if they don't have the flu in order to avoid getting infected. 

► If your flu symptoms include severe stomach and chest pain, dizziness, and reoccurring nausea that develops over a short time, consider calling 911 or going to hospital emergency room. 

Stay Updated

► If you want to know how the flu is affecting New York City this season, you can check out the health department's NYC Flu Updates tracker.