It’s the time of year when we start seeing flu appear. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself from the flu.

“The flu vaccine will protect you, your loved ones, and the community in general throughout the whole flu season,” said Andrea Chapman, infection preventionist at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Professionals note that it is important to note delay in getting the shot. Ideally, everyone would be vaccinated by the end of October.

“The vaccine takes about two weeks to build that immunity; so you want to do it before there is flu in the area,” said Chapman.

It is also important to note that you can’t get sick from the shot.

“The influenza vaccine cannot give you influenza,” said Chapman.

Although flu is starting to appear, the peak for the season is typically in January or February.

“The symptoms include ever, although not everyone will have fever. Cough, sore throat, fatigue, usually there’s a rapid onset to those symptoms, unlike something like a cold,” noted Chapman.

If you do end up getting sick, stay home. In addition, practice good hand hygiene. The hope is though, that by being vaccinated, you can keep yourself and your family well this flu season.

“The flu vaccine protects against three or four strains of flu that are thought to be what will be circulating most commonly in the US for this flu season,” said Chapman.

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA.  If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com