If you've never had the flu, you're pretty lucky but for those that have had it, know just how awful it feels. The CDC recommends ways you can prevent the spread of the flu and other germs. Here's how:

  1. Get the flu shot
  2. Avoid sick people
  3. If you do get sick, stay home and limit contact with others
  4. If symptoms worsen, see a healthcare provider
  5. Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing
  6. Wash hands with soap and water
  7. Don't touch your nose, eyes and mouth (if you do, wash your hands)
  8. Clean and disinfect surfaces
  9. If there is an outbreak, follow public health advice

The CDC also releases a weekly report on Influenza activity. Here's an interactive map that shows where the flu is low in activity or widespread across the country. Right now it looks like Iowa has had an uptick with the flu. Minnesota posts a weekly report and in the recent week influenza cases have increased due to holiday gatherings and travel.

Here's some interesting facts about the flu from the CDC:

  1. The flu varies from year to year and there's no sure fire way to know how bad it's going to be.
  2. The flu vaccines are created for specific strands that are anticipated to be the most common during the flu season.
  3. The flu shot cannot give you the flu.