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7 Healthcast

Benefits of the flu shot

It's the first day of winter and doctors are again sounding the alarm about flu season.

It happens every fall. As flu season approaches, doctors recommend that almost everyone in the family get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Of course, not everyone does.

If you haven't been vaccinated and you think you've gotten by without getting sick, the answer is -- not really.

Flu season usually doesn't peak until January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year's flu strains are tough on the elderly and children.

In the last week, flu cases jumped in the south.

And those who caught the flu seemed to get sicker than in recent years.

An early jump could be a sign that we are in for a rough season, because health experts don't know if we've hit the peak yet.

According to the CDC, about 112 million Americans have already gotten their flu shots this season. And that's good. But the agency is encouraging all families to get protected before the peak months.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months or older. Symptoms can include fever, head and body aches, fatigue and perhaps a runny nose. In severe cases, the flu can lead to death.