CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On the heels of last year s deadly flu season, area doctors are saying now is the time to protect your family.

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Each year a new vaccine is created because the virus mutates itself year to year. The good news this year is that the influenza vaccine is stronger than usual according to Novant Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Charles Bregier,

This year I believe, it s thought to be 65 percent affective in eliminating, or reducing the flu. That s a pretty good number. If you have a 65 percent reduced risk, that s a good reason to get it.

Dr. Bregier believes that the shot isn t just for you, but for all the people you come into contact with.

The more people immunized, the more people will be protected, he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the influenza virus is easily spread through coughing, or sneezing.

A person can infect others up to one day before symptoms start and up to seven days after becoming sick.

The virus can survive on surfaces for several hours. Common symptoms of the flu include, fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue.

It may sound like the common cold, but Dr. Ryan Shelton with the Mecklenburg Medical Group, says you ll know if you catch the flu.

A flu is way more than a cold. A cold is minor, you can work through a cold, it s congestion, sniffles, runny nose, sore throat. Flu is intense.

I had folks who had the flu last year come in, even in August this year, begging for the shot because it was so intense, they were home from work... misery, he said.

Once a person has the vaccine it will take up to 10 days to develop the immunities. Not everyone can have the vaccine however, so talk with your doctor.

For Charlotte Mother of two, Veronica Dawson, the decision was easy. It s really important to be as safe as possible with your kids, your family, no matter what the ages take precaution.

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