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Ask the St. Elizabeth Expert: What can I do to fight the flu?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - If you suddenly got sick this week, it might be the flu.

The virus is just starting to spread in the Tri-State. The flu is a virus that unlike any other, doesn't tend to come on over a number of days like a cold or other virus. The flu hits suddenly and you feel like every bone and muscle in your body just aches. If you haven't gotten it, you don't want it which is why Local 12 News asked experts at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare what to do to fight the flu?

Blame it on the sights and sounds of the season. The flu often starts spreading this time of year becuase we spend time in close contact with a lot of people.

Tracie Shelton, St. Elizabeth Healthcare infection control, said, "It's another gift that we sometimes give at the holidays, an unwanted gift."

While it's not widespread yet, the team of health care workers say they are already seeing the symptoms; upper respiratory symtoms, cough, body aches, fever. Since those symptoms can set in any age and are especially dangerous for the very young, a flu vaccine is the best defense and the Centers for Disease Control suggests anyone age 6 months or older get the vaccine. It's not just for your own protection, but family and friends around you.

It's important to note the flu vaccine wont give you the flu. It's an inactive virus and infection prevention specialists Shelton and Jerri Abramis both say the second best defense is good hand hygiene. Washing or using hand sanitizer for at least 15 seconds, good friction, good motion all helps.

Once you clean your hands, remember any surface you touch likely has bacteria you can transmit into your own body. So if you are going to touch your eyes or put your hands to your face, that's probably a good port of entry for you to give yourself some kind of disease or the flu virus.

Symptoms of the flu tend to last seven to ten days. It's too soon to know if this year's vaccine is a match, but we'll soon find out as the virus spreads. Kentucky tracks actual flu cases, Ohio tracks flu activity such as medications and emergency room visits. Both say right now, we are seeing sporadic cases.

CLICK HERE to ask questions for providers at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare.

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