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By JASON SINGER, Staff Writer

The flu.

If you currently do not have it, then you have definitely heard the news. This year the flu has reached such a high level that the CDC, Center for Disease Control, has classified it as an epidemic. Already 29 people have died, 9 of those being children.

Like clockwork, the flu returns. Every year it is estimated that about 5 to 20% of the U.S. population is infected with the virus; this year the numbers are very high. Flu season has arrived earlier than expected, and this particular strain has a tendency to make people sicker than usual. If you haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, just know that it is never too late.

Most people think of the flu as an annoying event that happens and affects their daily lives, leaving them bedridden for a couple days. But it can be extremely dangerous. Annually it is estimated that 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu or complications arising from it. 36,000 people die from it according to CDC studies.

The flu is not like your average cold. For starters it is a respiratory illness caused by the Influenza Virus. It enters the body binding to your cells which releases its genetic material thus turning your cells into a breeding ground for the virus to spread.
General symptoms include: Coughing, sneezing, fever, aches, exhaustion, and congestion.

How do you get the flu?

Most people think if they are diligent about washing their hands they will be alright. But people can contract the virus from up to 6 feet away. If you don’t get the vaccine the best you can do is:

-Carry hand sanitizer

-Wash your hands frequently after touching door knobs or others

-Take vitamin C with Zinc because it enable the body to absorb higher doses of calcium which boost the immune system

-Keep hydrated

Other than that, unless you decide to barricade yourself in your home, there isn’t much you can do. If you do have the flu and it doesn’t go away within a day or two, get it checked out by your doctor.

Most people are able to fend it off with their own antibodies, but complications may arise. And remember, if you do have the flu, do everyone a favor including yourself and stay home. Fighting it or ignoring it will be a hard uphill battle.