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How to protect yourself as flu season draws near

INDIANAPOLIS — Health officials are already noticing cases of flu emerging across the state. However, they say there is still time for people to get protected through vaccinations.

The Indiana State Department of Health says it is important that Hoosiers take steps to protect themselves against the virus.

“Flu can be deadly, especially in vulnerable populations, so the time to take those protective measures is now,” State Health Commissioner Kris Box said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop. That is why they recommend people get vaccinated before the end of October. People can find the nearest location to get a flu shot through an online Vaccine Finder map.

The CDC especially recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. This protects infants younger than 6 months because they can’t get vaccinated.

Since the 2014-2015 flu season, nearly 800 Hoosiers have died of flu-related illnesses. Those most at risk are pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illness, people who are immunocompromised and the elderly.

People should be on the lookout for these common signs of the flu:

  • fever of 100° Fahrenheit or greater
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose

The CDC says people can help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands and staying home when sick.

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