Flu season has arrived, however, you can reduce the impact of the flu on
your family with a few simple steps.
The Centers for Disease Protection and Control recommends taking the following
actions to prevent the spread of the flu.
Get a flu vaccine
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important
step in protecting against flu viruses for individuals ages six months
Typically, influenza activity peaks in February and continues through April,
so it is not too late to get a flu shot.
Those at high
risk of serious flu complications should especially consider vaccination. This includes young children,
pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart
and lung disease and
people 65 years and older. While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against
the three viruses that research suggests will be most common that year.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
Frequent hand washing is extremely important to preventing the spread of
the flu. Also, try to avoid close contact with individuals who are ill.
If you experience respiratory symptoms, limit your exposure to others
and cover your mouth when you cough. If you have flu-like illness, stay
home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical
care for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use
of a fever-reducing medicine. Avoid spreading germs by touching your eyes,
nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated
with germs like the flu.
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness. These are prescription
medicines that are not available over-the-counter. Antiviral drugs can
make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent
serious flu complications. According to the CDC, studies show that flu
antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two
days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially
if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose,
body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting
and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory
symptoms without a fever.