And, just as the birches and bears and birds and bees batten down the hatches preparing for the winter, you should too by getting your annual flu  shot as soon as possible. Once you’re vaccinated, your protection lasts for the whole flu season.
Not everyone should get a flu shot, though, including children under six months, people who with a severe allergic reaction  to chickens or egg protein , people with an illness that’s more than just a cold, and anyone who has had a moderate or severe reaction after a previous flu vaccine.
Is it the flu or just a common cold?
Flu symptoms  come on more quickly and are more severe than colds. Flus often include fever, which tend to be higher and last longer than the occasional low fever with a cold.
Flu also produces body aches and severe fatigue, while colds generally don’t. Colds often come with a sore throat, which flu doesn’t. Colds are more likely to include a runny or stuffy nose than the flu. And, unlike colds, the flu can easily lead to serious health complications.
More strategies to avoid the flu:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs, using a generous amount of friction and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even more important if you have a chronic illness like COPD .
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, discard it afterward and then re-wash or re-sanitize your hands.
- Stay home from work when you’re sick.
- Keep your home and work area germ-free by frequently sanitizing high-traffic areas.
- Preserve your health by eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest and exercise and drinking enough fluids.