The best defense against the flu remains the flu vaccine and it's not too late to get vaccinated, the CDC said. The agency recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated.
This year's vaccine appears to be well matched for the circulating flu strains, the CDC said. A recent report put the vaccine's effectiveness at 62 percent. No vaccine is 100 percent effective. But if flu strikes, vaccination often results in milder illness, the agency said.
People can visit this U.S. government website to see where vaccine is available in their area.
As of Jan. 18, 133.5 million doses of flu vaccine had been distributed to vaccine providers in the United States for the 2012-2013 season.
Two antiviral medications, Tamiflu and Relenza, can reduce flu symptoms and the course of the disease. To be effective, however, they must be started within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, head and body aches, and runny nose. People at particular risk for flu and its complications are pregnant women, those 65 and older and anyone with a chronic illness. The CDC urges these people to get the flu vaccine, which is available as an injection or nasal spray and in a stronger dose for seniors.
For more on flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: Jan. 25, 2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FluView
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