FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Centers for Disease Control warns this could be one of the most severe flu seasons in recent history and Kaiser Permanente wants to help their patients get a jump start on protecting themselves.
Pretty soon we'll see our fair share of runny noses and coughs paired with a fever and sore throat.
Kaiser Permanente Infectious disease physician, Dr. Dee Lacy says your strongest line of defense is the flu vaccine.
"More than 90 percent of people who are not protected against influenza will become infected if they're near someone who has the flu," Lucy said.
As for your secondary line of defense, Phyllis Chesser has the right idea saying, "we try to do all those things like wash our hands and stay away from people who have the flu."
The flu virus can infect someone standing two to three feet away from someone who has it. Unlike the common cold, the symptom onset is abrupt.
"Stay home if you're sick. If you're sick why would you want to bring that to work and infect other people? stay home take care of yourself. Get better before you go back," Dr. Lacy said.
If you're opting to not get the shot, research shows you're not alone. The CDC reports only 35% of adults in California got their flu vaccine last flu season, but they recommend anyone older than six months should be vaccinated.
That's why Alice Farris and her husband paired their checkups with a trip to the flu clinic.
"We get it every year as a preventative measure because it seems like with our age the flu gets worse and worse," she said.
But can the flu vaccine get us sick?
"Some people may feel a little flu-ish the first day, after the vaccine, that becomes less common if you get your vaccine every year," Lucy said.
The Kaiser clinic is only for their patients, however, there are low and no cost flu vaccinations available at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. You can also check with your healthcare provider.
Upcoming flu season expected to be more severe than previous years, CDC says