If you've ever had the flu, you know just how bad the symptoms can be. From a sore throat, cough, aches, chills and a high fever -- it's not fun and can lead to more serious issues, even death in severe cases. In fact, the CDC estimates that from October 2018-May 2019, there were 37.4 million-42.9 million reported flu illnesses, and between 36,400-61,200 deaths from the flu.

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Tracking flu activity in your area can help prevent you from getting sick. Yuri Arcurs peopleimages.com / Getty Images

If those numbers aren't enough to make you want to get a flu shot, then just talk to someone who had the flu last year and, chances are, they'll tell you they wish they would have gotten the shot. 

Getting a flu shot is one way to protect yourself, and you can also prevent exposure by avoiding areas with outbreaks by keeping track of flu activity in areas that you live or will visit. Keep reading to learn more about why you should track the flu and how to do it.

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