Protect Yourself and Your Family From the FluPosted on: November 29, 2012Categories: LiveWell 24/7
Flu season is upon us. Influenza is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Take the following actions to protect yourself and those you love:
Make Sure You Get a Flu Vaccine
- A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
- Vaccinations of high risk persons (pregnant, older than 65, younger than 5, asthma, obese, chronic health conditions) is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- Vaccination is also important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people.
- Children younger than 6 months of age are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. Those who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
Take Everyday Preventative Actions to Stop the Spread of Germs
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue in a trash can immediately after.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs are spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, it is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
Take Flu Antiviral Drugs if Your Doctor Prescribes Them
- If you are infected with the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different than antibiotics. They are prescription medicines and not available over the counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
- For people with high risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder virus versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick.
- Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea.
For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm