By Jamie Carter
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Have you received your yearly flu shot yet? Winter will be here in no time, and you’re encouraged to get one now.

Getting an immunization is an easy way to avoid coming down with the flu. By Jamie Carter, CCC Journalism Program

Camden County has been offering flu shots to the public, and local drug stores are offering flu shots throughout the fall and winter.

In addition to getting the shot, as the seasons begin to change and the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to stay bundled up.

To tell the difference between the common cold and the flu, take your temperature. Typically with the flu, fevers reach 100 degrees or higher. Other symptoms are coughs normally producing phlegm, severe sore throats, body aches, constant chills, and a runny nose. If you have some or all of these symptoms, making a call to your local doctor would probably be in your best interest.

The flu normally lasts about a week and can be treated with medicine. The virus is spread during contact with others. It is contagious.

To prevent catching the virus, it’s important to wash your hands often. Carrying around hand sanitizer as well as disinfecting wipes to wipe off phones, door knobs, keyboards and other items is also a good idea.

If you have the flu, stay home. It’s essential to avoid contact with others until you are fever- free for 24 hours.

Eating properly is also key. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid drinking soda as much as possible.

With the swine flu being such a threat, doctors are trying to stress the importance of taking your health seriously.

“My mom kept telling me to wear a coat and to get a flu shot but I never had time. I ended up with the flu, and it was awful. I was stuck in the house for six days. I was unable to attend school or work. I made sure I received the flu shot as soon as I saw it advertised. I couldn’t afford to feel that sick again,” said Stephanie Watson, a student.

Camden County concluded its flu shot program Nov. 5, but local drug stores continue offering the shots.

For more information, call the New Jersey H1N1 Information Hotline at 1-866-321-9571.

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