Preventing the Flu
1. Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
2. Stay home when you are sick
Stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in the wastebasket. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
5. Clean your hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. It is recommended to wash with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. Clean your hands each time you sneeze or cough.
6. Practice other good health habits
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
7. Best Protection against the Flu: Vaccination
The single best way to protect yourself and others against influenza is to get a flu vaccination each year.
What are symptoms of the Flu
Influenza (commonly called the "flu") is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The information below describes common flu symptoms.
Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:
- Fever (usually high)
- Tiredness (can be extreme)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)
Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.
If you get sick
Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications.
If you get the flu:
- Stay home from work or school.
- Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve the symptoms of the flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever).
Remember that serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people including people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and young children.
Consult your doctor early in the course of the illness if you think you need medical attention, but also be aware of emergency warning signs that require urgent medical attention.
Emergency Warning Signs
Seek emergency medical care if you or someone you know is having any of following warning signs discussed below.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting