Coughs or sneezes spread flu virus into the air, and then onto surfaces. You can take measurers so you don’t spread the virus to others, or so others don’t spread it to you.
You can reduce your chances of getting the flu by Cover and Wash:
• Cover your mouth and nose every time you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away. Use your arm (not your hand).
• Observe regular cleaning habits if someone at home has the flu. Pay special attention to doorknobs, faucets, refrigerator handles, and phones.
• Vaccinate. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot. Flu vaccines are available in a number of locations, including your provider’s office. To find the closest place for a flu shot, go to HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
• Every time you use a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands.
• Remember not to share anything that goes into the mouth.
• Wash your hands often and well. Use soap and water for at least 15 seconds.
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Have alcohol hand sanitizer on hand if you don’t have access to soap and water.
Giving a boost to your immune system can help to reduce the chances of getting the flu and/or reducing severity. This is particularly important for those who can’t take the flu vaccine. Things like laugher , being physically active, or having a strong social network can boost immunity. Studies of Tai Chi and Qigong have found that they can significantly improve immune response in older adults after only five months of practice.
People who practice Mindfulness meditation have been shown to reduce the incidence, length and severity of respiratory by as much as 50%. These results were nearly as effective as flu shots. "Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial." Ann Fam Med. 2012 Jul-Aug;10(4):337-46.
Call your health care provider if you think you have the flu. Flu symptoms can often be confused with the common cold, but the flu usually comes on more suddenly and is more severe.
Symptoms of flu may include: fever (usually high); headache; tiredness and weakness (can be extreme); dry cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; body or muscle aches; nausea; vomiting, and diarrhea (much more common among children than adults).
A person who is sick with the flu is contagious. That means they can spread viruses. Adults can be contagious from one day before having symptoms to seven days after getting sick. Children can be contagious for longer than seven days.
If you start to get flu symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Don't use alcohol or tobacco.
- Stay home from work or school to protect others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
Take medication to lessen the symptoms of flu, but NEVER give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, especially fever, without first checking with your health care provider.
To learn about the flu go to the CDC Flu site http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/