The Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Here are three steps you can take to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu):

  1. Take time to get the flu vaccine.
    • The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
    • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
    • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalization.
    • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community.
    • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
    • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people age 65+.
    • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
    • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
  2. Take every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
    • If you are sick with flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care of for other necessities.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
    • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
    • Antiviral drugs are different than antibiotics. They are prescription medicines are not available over-the-counter.
    • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
    • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick.
    • Flu 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.

To learn more about what to do if you do get sick with the flu, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm.

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