ABINGDON, Va. - Dr. Brian Enriquez tells News 5 the cold weather and the holiday festivities often help spread the infamous seasonal flu, but this year's flu season actually started early.
"This flu season actually started quite early, several months ago. The vaccine itself was released back in October, but it can extend far into the New Year," said Brian Enriquez, a Wellmont physician.
If you don't want to get a sick start to your new year, Dr. Enriquez explains to us that getting the flu shot is your best bet. "The flu vaccine is just a one-time shot; there are also inhaled vaccinations for children that are available. They are targeting several strains of the flu, but not all of the strains, so it's still possible to get the flu after the shot," said Enriquez.
We found some tips everyone should put to use to insure the virus doesn't enter your body -- wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as germs can spread that way. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you have to be treated for the flu, Dr. Enrique tells us many physicians are now providing medicine for the people you've been in contact with as well.
He tells us if you happen to experience symptoms like general malaise, headache, sore throat, or muscle aches, you should see a doctor within 24 hours, because you probably have the flu.
Dr. Enriquez tells us the flu season has been average in our area so far.