The staff at Rivertown Buick GMC love summer, but as we start to get enough of the sweltering heat, and look forward to the cool, crisp days of fall and winter. That means cozy clothes, warm nights by a fire, and pumpkin spice lattes. Unfortunately, it also means the dreaded flu season is upon us again.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season in the US begins in October and peaks in January and February, and it can last as late as May. The influenza virus is typically spread just like the cold, through the air when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. It can also be transmitted when infected people touch their mouths or noses, then touch communal surfaces which other people touch later.

Anyone who has had the flu before can tell you it’s nothing like a simple cold. It can lead to a cough, sore throat, and runny nose just like the cold, but it can also cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare cases, it can even lead to more serious issues, like pneumonia, ear infections, and sinus infections, as well as possibly worsening existing chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. People who are most at risk are the elderly, pregnant women, and children under five years old.

To prevent the flu, you should do your best to wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water thoroughly throughout the day. Also, avoid contact with others who may be sick and avoid touching your face and mouth. However, the CDC says the best way to prevent contracting the flu is getting a flu vaccine each year: “Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death.” (Source)

One important note, the influenza virus is a living thing, and like any living creature, it can evolve to resist threats like the vaccine over time. For this reason, it’s important that we limit the use of the vaccine to ensure it stays effective, so only those most at risk should get the vaccine each year. If you feel that you or someone you know are at risk of catching the flu or are at risk of greater complications, then visit your local pharmacy or doctor to get a vaccine as soon as possible.

We hope you stay safe and healthy this year!