Flu season varies from year to year, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-2018 flu season was the worst in at least 40 years, resulting in 960,000 hospitalizations and 79,000 deaths. Influenza, or “flu,” is one of the most common yet serious infectious diseases, with up to 49 million Americans getting the virus each year. The flu is highly contagious and is transmitted when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Because it can spread easily from person to person, the flu can result in localized outbreaks, seasonal epidemics and global pandemics – representing a serious threat to public health. While flu viruses can be detected year-round in the U.S., they are most common during the fall and winter, with activity increasing in October and peaking between December and February. As flu activity ramps up nationwide, it’s a critical time to raise awareness of how to best prepare for the flu and what the latest treatment options are for those who do get sick. The local Health Department officials say the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.