The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Yakima has seen about half as many cases of the flu so far this year compared to last season. But while the numbers are down, the seriousness of the flu is not something to take lightly.  Washington state reports 15 flu-related deaths so far, so getting the flu shot and taking proper preventative precautions makes very good sense.

The precautions part raises the question of just how close can you get to someone with a contagious virus and still be "safe"? According to the CDC, the answer is about six feet.

The organization explains: "Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes."

Yahoo News reports that you can be sick for up to two days before symptoms actually start. The CDC says the best thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting the flu is to get your flu shot.