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But when it comes to prevention, education is key.

"We should be alarmed every year".

The number of influenza cases and related fatalities skyrocketed in the San Diego region last week, pushing the "flu season" totals to levels far ahead of the same time previous year, county health officials reported Wednesday.

We all know the telltale symptoms of the flu - the fever, headache, nausea and fatigue.

At least 10 states, including SC, are seeing high influenza levels already. The flu can stop anyone in their tracks.

The vaccine only reduces the possibility of getting the flu; it does not rule out the chance of contracting it entirely. Some healthcare companies offer this option as part of a worksite wellness program in which they administer flu shots and provide educational materials.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a preliminary report in late November that said the flu shot was only 10 percent effective for the H3N2 strain in Australia, a country that experienced a severe flu season this year.

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From a Centers for Disease Control report, only 45.6 percent of the overall population got their flu shots during the 2015-16 season.

Concern that there's a link between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the vaccine preservative thimerosal has prevented some parents from getting their children vaccinated.

According to the CDC, there have been almost 14,000 confirmed cases of the flu this season. "And boom ... three days later, you get the flu".

Fact: The flu vaccine isn't manufactured with a live virus, so it can not cause the flu. In previous flu seasons when this virus was dominant, hospitalizations and deaths were more common and the vaccine was less effective.

Aside from the vaccine, it always is a good idea to wash hands frequently, cover coughs and stay away from anyone who might be sick during flu season. But if you're still anxious, thimerosal-free flu vaccines are available for children and adults.

Some myths about the flu linger.

Raghu Kasetty, MD of OSF St. Francis said the local flu season will presumably get worse before it improves.