Autumn through early spring is peak time for influenza in the United States. When some people get the flu, it can cause serious illness or even death.
County of Sonoma Department of Health Services recommends the best way to avoid the flu is to get a vaccination. The vaccine for 2012-2013 protects against three types of flu and two strains, according to the department's website.
In Sonoma, flu shots are available during regular business hours at CVS, Rite Aid and Pharmaca pharmacies, as well as doctors' offices.
People can reduce the chances of getting or spreading the flu by covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, putting the tissue in the trash and washing hands immediately afterward.
Remember not to share personal items such as toothbrushes and mugs.
If you do get the flu, County Health Services encourages you to stay home from work at least 24 hours until the fever is gone, so you don't get other people sick.
People at high risk of developing flu-related complications are: children under age 5; people age 65 and older; pregnant women; American Indians; Alaskans; people with kidney, liver, endocrine, metabolic or blood disorders; and those who are obese, have compromised immune systems, asthma or chronic lung disease.