CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We usually try to avoid the flu this time of year but if you're just a glutton for punishment, or could use some extra cash, you could actually get paid to get the flu. 

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are giving people the virus. They then closely monitor their symptoms so they can better understand how the flu virus works and how they can control it. 

If you're still on the fence about it, the payoff isn't bad. Those who sign up and take part in the program are paid $3,300. 

There are a few rules, though. First, you must be between 18 and 49 years old. You must either be a non-smoker or a non-habitual smoker and show interest in taking part in future studies. 

Volunteers will be given a nasal spray with a strain of seasonal influenza. The virus was developed by scientists and NIH says it reliably produces mild to moderate flu in most recipients.

NIH says the virus has been given to 400 people in four previous trials and no significant safety issues or severe cases of flu occurred. There was also no reported transmission of the flu outside the clinic during the trials.

If you want to take part, you may have to travel. The trial sites are at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Duke University in North Carolina; and Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development.

NIH says volunteers must remain in the clinic for at least seven full days after receiving the virus. 

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

RELATED: Flu season is here in the Carolinas

RELATED: 96% of people in Charlotte come to work sick, survey says