NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- This year's flu season is putting a big strain on Virginia's hospitals.

The 13News Now verify team set out to answer a few questions about the flu.

Does the flu shot make symptoms less severe?

Dr. Joshua Parker with Express ER said, "it takes about 5-7 days to build up the immunity that the vaccine is creating."

Parker said if you get the flu during that time period, your symptoms can be lessened because you were vaccinated.

After that time frame, Parker said you should not get infected. If you do get infected, you may have picked up a strain of the flu that is not covered by the vaccine.

Another question verified:

Can you be immune to the flu?

No.

"Every single patient shows some sort of reaction," said Parker.

Do masks help stop germs?

Parker verified yes they can, especially when you combine them with antibacterial products like hand sanitizer and soap.

According to Parker, wearing a mask and keeping your hands clean can help to reduce the spread of the flu by as much as 75 percent.

13News Now emailed Sentara to find out how many people were going to the hospital with the flu this season. They directed us to the state's website.

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