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The Basics of Flu Prevention

Posted on January 15, 2020

Flu season comes around every year, and every year it causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. So what can you do to help protect yourself, your family, and your community from flu? Follow these easy steps:

1. Get an Annual Flu Vaccine

Annual flu vaccination is the single best way to help protect against influenza. Because flu viruses can change every year, it’s important to receive a flu vaccine each and every year to help protect you against the circulating flu strains. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and are safely administered to millions of people every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone six months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccination.

2. Wash your Hands Frequently, Especially During Flu Season

Flu viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. It’s important to wash your hands frequently to get rid of germs that you may come into contact with. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer. And try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and/or mouth with unwashed hands as germs, including flu viruses, can enter our bodies this way.

3. Do the Elbow Cough/Sneeze

Flu viruses can spread through tiny droplets in the air when we cough, sneeze, or talk. These viruses can travel through the air up to six feet away! Cough or sneeze into your elbow, rather than your hands, to help avoid exposing others to germs.

4. Clean and Disinfect Surfaces at Home, School, and Work

Because flu viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, it’s important to maintain a healthy environment by cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home, school, and office during flu season.

5. Stay Home When Sick

As an infectious disease, flu can spread quickly from person to person. Therefore, if you or your child(ren) are sick, stay home to avoid exposing others. And seek medical treatment from a trusted healthcare professional if you suspect you are suffering from severe flu symptoms, as there are prescription antiviral medications that may help shorten the duration and severity of your illness.

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