The flu can be more dangerous than you might think

Western Massachusetts doctors and hospitals are seeing flu infections

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s that time of the year, the flu season; which typically peaks between January and February. Dr. Ira Helfand of the Family Care Medical Center in Springfield told 22News the flu is so common, we often forget it can be dangerous.

“The flu is a serious illness and it affects a lot of people,” said Dr. Helfand. “Most people they just feel horrible like they wish they could die for a week. Some people actually get really sick and do die from the flu.”

The flu can lead to pneumonia, and aggravate existing chronic illnesses, like congestive heart failure. That’s why doctors say it’s so important to protect yourself.

Dr. Helfand said, “It’s never really too late to get the shot.” The flu shots effectiveness varies year-to-year; last year the CDC reported it was about 47% effective, the year before that it was just 19%.

Experts said many of the flu strains seen so far are included in this season’s vaccine, which would indicate it’s more effective.

Dr. Helfand said the first piece of advice, if you have the flu, is stay home; “The fact of the matter is, if you have the flu, you should not be going to any place where there are a lot of people because you’re going to spread the flu to all those who have not had flu shots.” That means stay home from work if you have the flu.

Click Here to read about the different strains.