Sioux Falls Pharmacist Heidi Gabel says the flu shot is your best bet for avoiding influenza.

“You are protecting yourself as well as protecting those people who can’t get flu shots, such as the elderly and the young.”

Heidi says the flu shot produces positive results for most people.

“It does! Yes! This mentality of going ahead and getting a flu shot is important. Most individuals who do get a flu don’t have a negative reaction.”

So just how effective is this year’s flu vaccine?

“You know they won’t know that until after the season. Hopefully it will be 80 to 90 percent effective. That’s what they always shoot for - 100 percent obviously.”

Aside from the flu shot, here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that can protect you and those around you.

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can easily spread when an individual touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

It’s also important to take steps to prevent the spread of germs. If you’re sick, stay home so you don’t expose other people. Wash your hands at all times whether or not you are sick. Clean your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub. Beware of sharing glasses and things that spread respiratory droplets.

The flu can wind up sending people to the hospital and a small number have died.

Historically, seasonal flu causes between three thousand to forty nine thousand deaths in the United States each year.

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