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"Between now and March and April will be the prime flu season", says Wood.

"Through our hospital system we've had 256 patients with the flu", Dr. Rodgers said.

"There are currently flu cases on the island, so protect yourself and your family now".

The flu is made up of various strands of the virus and, another round of the flu is about to descend.

One of the most convenient options employers have in preventing the flu is on-site clinics.

Many of those cases are in people who did get the flu vaccine.

Since October, 4,600 positive flu tests have been reported.

"For this time of the year, the number of flu cases that we have had is ... higher than last year", he said. And, if current numbers are any indication, the US may see a sharp rise in influenza cases as Americans return from the holidays this year in particular.

In response to increasing flu activity in the area, OSF St. Francis has implemented flu masking requirements and visitor restrictions.

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Flu vaccines are also safe for anyone six months of age and older and are recommended annually, with some rare exceptions.

While the flu vaccine is most often administered from September to mid-November, it is not too late for people who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so.

"This year's flu vaccine may be only 10 percent effective", said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the chief health and medical editor for ABC News.

- avoid close contact with sick people and limit contact with others as much as possible while sick.

And an important reminder: Stay home if you are sick. It's already been used in Australia, because they're on a different season.

- wash their hands regularly with soap and water.

Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way. Some people never show any signs of flu symptoms but may act as carriers of the virus, infecting their loved ones.

Flu vaccines also take up to two weeks to take effect, which means you are still vulnerable to contracting the virus during this window of time. However, people with life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or its ingredients (which include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients) can not or may require a different strain of the shot.


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