Influenza — it’s not “just the flu.” How to protect yourself from this annual onslaught

Although most patients recover from a bout of the flu without treatment, thousands of Americans die from it each year. Influenza is a serious infection — but it can be prevented and treated, reports the October 2008 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.

In the United States, the flu season runs roughly from Thanksgiving to Easter. In a typical year, up to 10% of Americans get the flu, over 200,000 are sick enough to require hospitalization, and about 36,000 die from the infection. This toll can double during epidemics, which occur every 10 to 15 years.

The best way to avoid suffering flu symptoms this winter is an ounce of prevention, starting with good hygiene:

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