NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s October, and that means it’s officially flu season.
22News Reporter Matt Caron got his flu shot Tuesday at the Northampton Health Department. “I’m making somewhat of a tradition out of this– and that’s a good thing because getting the flu shot can reduce your risk of getting the flu by 40 to 60 percent.”
Northampton Public Health Director Merridith O’Leary told 22News anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu every year and about 200,000 end up in the hospital.
It can be deadly.
You’re at higher risk if you are very young, very old, have a compromised immune system, or a chronic illness like asthma. You can always talk with your doctor about the possibility of getting a high-dose vaccine.
O’Leary provided 22News with some common sense advice.
“Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water,” she said. “Also if you can avoid touching your eyes, nose throat or face, that’s another preventable measure. You also want to avoid close contact with people who may be sick.”
If you do end up with the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away.
Flu season picks up in October and can last into May.