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Properly prepare for the flu season

What is the most serious respiratory illness threat facing Americans today? If you answered “e-cigarettes” or “vaping,” we commend you for keeping up with current events.

But that is the wrong answer. The correct one is influenza.

During the 2017-18 season, nearly 15 percent of Americans contracted influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and approximately 79,400 people died of the illness. Though most of those deaths were older individuals, children are also at risk. In the 2017-18 season, 183 of the reported flu deaths were children.

There is no way to guarantee you will not get the flu — but there is a safeguard that will reduce the likelihood of that dramatically or give you a better chance of fighting it off. It is getting an annual flu shot.

With colder weather and the flu season just around the corner, many health care outlets already have the flu vaccine.

Most health insurance companies cover flu shots. They can be obtained from doctors’ offices, hospitals, many pharmacies and at many health departments — which often can make provisions for those not covered by insurance.

Consider this: You may think you can get through a bout with the flu just fine — but what if you transmit it to someone more at risk? Think about getting the shot, and soon.

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