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Austin-area residents fighting the flu

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The flu virus has already killed more than a dozen people in the Austin area this season and local experts are warning this is the time of year when Influenza spreads the most in central Texas.

Coughing, sneezing. body aches and fever are all classic signs of influenza and February is typically the peak time, doctors' offices fill up with patients experiencing the flu-like symptoms

"Most people that are getting flu are getting type a, h1n1, which is like the pandemic we saw back in 2009," said Colleen Christian, a health educator for the city of Austin. She said the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to get a flu shot, even if you wait until now.

"It is never too late to get a flu shot," said Christian, "We do start to see the flu cases peak in February, but they continue throughout the spring and sometimes all the way into the summer."

Christian recommends getting a flu vaccine each year, as the virus changes, and for those who are afraid the vaccine will give them the flu, she says that's a myth.

"The flu shot cannot cause the flu," said Christian, "Some people the very first time they get the flu shot may have some achiness or mild headache and usually goes away after 24 hours and doesn't keep them from doing what they would normally do."

Recovering from the flu can take anywhere from 5 days to several weeks.

If you want to test your knowledge on the flu, the city of Austin has a flu IQ. Quiz you can take on their website. Just click on this link: Austintexas.Gov/immunizations to take the quiz.

Austin health officials say this flu season has been fairly normal with one exception. There have been 15 deaths and almost half of the deaths have been healthy adults instead of seniors or small children. Experts say that's one more reason why everyone who is healthy should get the flu shot.

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