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Hoping to avoid the flu? Get a shot, state official says

seleckySEATTLE — Forty-one states are reporting widespread flu outbreaks, and six people have died so far this season in Washington.

State Health Secretary Mary Selecky emphasized Wednesday that the best thing people in Washington state can do is get a flu shot.

“Germs are everywhere. In fact, germs outnumber people and they outsmart us.  Hand-washing helps, but the flu vaccine is going to be the most effective thing you can do,” she said.

And contrary to what some might think, experts say the vaccine won’t give you the flu.

“When you get a flu shot you’re getting a dead virus, so it can’t give you the flu,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “But what it’s doing is activating your immune system.  It’s teaching your system to recognize that virus as a problem.”

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