CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Fever, sore throat, muscle aches and chills are all symptoms of the flu that could sideline you for days or even weeks.
"The flu really puts a person flat on their back in bed, except when they have to get up from having vomiting and diarrhea probably with it," said University Hospitals Dr. Sybil Marsh.
CDC statistics show roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized each year from the virus.
"There will be deaths related to the flu. There will be disabilities related to the flu. It can be a really severe illness, especially for children," said Dr. Marsh.
She said 200 kids died from flu complications last season. This season, doctors expect the flu to be similar, which is why it's very important children get the flu shot. Dr. Marsh also stresses adults get the vaccination, especially if they work with kids.
Dr. Marsh hasn't seen any flu cases yet at University Hospitals, but she knows they'll start soon. The flu season typically kicks off in December and runs as late as May. The peak months are December, January and February.
Getting the flu shot now gives your body the time it needs to build up immunity.
"Then a person's immune system is all revved up to protect at the time when the most opportunity to get it is around in the community," she said.
Some people believe the flu shot makes them sick, but Dr. Marsh said that doesn't happen these days.
"This is not your grandma's flu vaccine. In the old days we used something called a live attenuated virus that was a live virus that could reproduce and cause the same kind of symptoms as the actual flu," she said. "Now the immunization we have uses killed viruses that can't reproduce, so they can't give you an illness."
Another important fact this flu season is that doctors don't recommend getting the nasal spray. They don't believe it'll be effective for the flu strains they expect to see.