SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - It's back to work and back to reality.
The holidays are over which means we are going back to work and school where germs will take over and could be passed on to you.
Now that we're in a new year, the official peak of flu season is still weeks away.
And we're gearing up for what could be one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade.
For the fifth week in a row there has been a spike in flu numbers in Greene County.
The Centers for Disease Control says there are three big things you can do to protect yourself from the flu.
#1: Get a flu shot.
Health officials say this is the most effective way for you to avoid getting the flu.
"What's in there is a killed virus so there's no way it can cause disease," explains Kendra Findley with the Greene County Health Department. "What it [the vaccine] does is it introduces the killed virus to the body and the body creates an immune response to it which allows you to fight it off if you come in contact with it."
#2: Take preventative action.
Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze, wash your hands and avoid contact with sick people.
It's also a good idea to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because this is how germs spread.
If you are sick, stay home at least 24 hours after your fever breaks.
#3: If you get the flu and catch it early enough, your doctor can treat you with antiviral drugs.
According to the CDC, the prescription medication can make the illness milder and shorten the number of days you're sick.
The Greene County Health Department updates new flu numbers on a weekly basis.
The department also started an online community-wide publication that focuses on sickness in the community.
Click here for more information.