You often hear about the number of flu cases being reported and the importance of getting your flu shot. Doctors say there are other illnesses such as colds and pneumonia that are harder to track for two reasons. People treat themselves at home and doctors say when patients come in, the sickness is not that obvious.
"I've just been healthy," said Chris Wine.
There are some people like Chris who haven't been sick lately.
Doctors say one common way to prevent yourself from getting sick is washing your hands to limit germs.
"You can have a bacterial pneumonia, caused by germs," said Dr. Charlie Devine III of Lord Fairfax Health District. "You can have a viral pneumonia caused by viruses and one of the viruses that can cause viral pneumonia is influenza itself."
Doctors say getting vaccinated will help prevent you from getting the flu.
"I work in the medical field," said Susan Nicholson. "I choose not to get it because I hear that you can get sicker from it."
"I think it's everybody's personal preference if they would want to get it or not, and I choose not to," said Chris. "I guess because I'm younger and feel that I don't need to get it."
"You cannot get flu from the flu shot," said Dr. Devine. "But, flu is already in town so if you do get sick that means you were already exposed. You need to of course avoid folks who are ill with something that may be the flu."
During flu season, many other illnesses aren't making national headlines. In Virginia, doctors can't report common cold cases like they can the flu. Devine says it's hard to tell the difference between some illnesses at the doctor's office.
"You can't clearly look at a patient and say well obviously this is influenza and obviously this isn't, this is a cold."
Children younger than six months are not able to get flu shots because their bodies aren't developed enough yet. It's best to make sure you are taking necessary steps to protect yourself and babies in your family.
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