NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Staying healthy during flu season may seem like an impossible task, but considering it hasn’t even reached its peak yet, there are some ways that you can be proactive about keeping the flu at bay this winter.

As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, although children aren’t more likely to get the flu, their little hands have more opportunities to pass the bug along to each other at school and then bring it home to their families.

With 20 percent of Americans coming down with the flu every year, it can be hard to protect anyone, but one of the best ways to safeguard yourself against it is to get a flu shot, Gomez reported.

“The best form of prevention is really to get your yearly flu vaccine.  I can’t stress that enough as a pediatrician, again, it’s not too late in the season to get your flu vaccine,” one pediatrician said.

The spread of the flu can be sharply curtailed with the vaccine.  Last year alone the flu vaccine prevented about 6 million cases, Gomez reported.

While not everyone is on board with vaccinations, doctors and parents both agree that good hygiene, such as thorough hand washing, is key to curtailing the spread of germs.

And if you didn’t receive the flu shot and come down with flu-like symptoms, Tamiflu is a drug that can shorten the sickness, but only if you start it within 48 hours of symptoms, Gomez reported.

Flu season runs from October through April and peaks in January and February.

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