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February 12, 2018 06:15 PM

Fighting The Flu

We're nearly halfway through February, but medical experts are still urging you to get the flu shot if you haven't already.

The CDC says there are weeks of flu activity to come and that this year's flu season isn't slowing down.

Nicole Anema says she rolls up her sleeve every year, and she's never had the flu. 

"I got my flu shot at the beginning of the year in October," Anema said. 

Flu season has lasted between 11 and 20 weeks for the past five years according to the CDC, and right now we're only at week 11. 

"It's never too late to get a flu shot. They feel that if you get a flu shot every year, even if it's after the season you still benefit from that shot," physician assistant David Axtman said.

Axtman says while the effectiveness is at a low 10 percent this season, it's still higher than having no protection.   

"Anytime you expose yourself to a facility where there's going to be a lot of sick people, clinics, hospitals, you're increasing your risk of exposure,"  Axtman said. 

Like a lot of us, Anema says she's been around people with the flu. She's been washing her hands a lot and hasn't caught it yet. 

"After I go shopping. After I'm at the gym. It just really helps, along with the flu shot to make it more effective," Anema said. 
Washing your hands for 30 to 60 seconds is your best way to keep germs at bay and drying with a disposable towel.

If symptoms still show up, Axtman says there's a shortage of flu tests so he suggests staying home. 

If your symptoms get worse, head to the clinic.  

"High fevers, weakness, trouble breathing, chest discomfort... anything like that. It's probably better to get it checked out than to wait," Axtman said. 

If you are diagnosed with the flu, Axtman says a fever reducer can help lessen your symptoms and Tamiflu isn't always necessary. 

"It can give you lots of side effects. It can be expensive. We do know it doesn't necessarily prevent hospitalizations or complications," Axtman said. 

Axtman's final advice for anyone who isn't feeling well: stay home, stay hydrated and get some sleep.

For a detailed map on where the flu is hitting, click here.

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