4 Tips to prevent the flu from being deadly

fluIf you're one of those folks that's been freaking out about catching Ebola, you might want to turn your attention towards a deadlier virus that's apparently spreading throughout the country. Yes, it's deadlier than Ebola and the outbreak could affect thousands. Not sure what I'm talking about? I'm referring to influenza, also known as the flu. I know what you're thinking. It's just the flu--no big deal right? Wrong, it's a lot more serious than you think!

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I've definitely been one of those people plugged to the news and freaking out about Ebola. But the truth is, influenza is a lot more dangerous than Ebola. Okay, so it's killed almost 4,000 Africans in this last outbreak. But so far only one person has been killed by Ebola in the United States compared to 600,000 Americans who die almost annually of Influenza and Pneumonia. And it's especially dangerous for kids, senior citizens, pregnant women or people with weak immune systems and health problems. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself against the flu. Here's what you need to do!

Get the vaccine: I've been hesitating to get the flu vaccine this season, but it's probably one of the most important steps in protecting yourself against this virus. Everyone 6 months or older should get it--no ifs or buts about it!

Stay away: Try as best as you can to avoid any close contact with people that might have the flu. It's so contagious all it takes is someone coughing or sneezing near you to get it.

Wash your hands: Washing your hands with soap and water especially before meals is a no-brainer. But during flu season it's smart to carry around an anti-bacterial gel in your purse. This is especially the case if you take the bus or subway. Or if you work with people who might be sick.

Look into antiviral medications: If you're taking care of someone with the flu, whether it's your kids, your husband or a parent, talk to your doctor about taking preventive antiviral medications. This can reduce your chances of catching it.

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: flu