With influenza activity peaking between December and February, it is important for patients to be aware of the following tips to reduce their risk for catching the flu:
- Get Vaccinated Patients 6 months and older should be vaccinated against the flu annually. This season, the vaccine protects against influenza A (H1N1, H3N2) viruses, as well as 1 or 2 influenza B viruses, depending on the vaccine.
- Wash Your Hands Using soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs. Use the following simple steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.
- Cover Your Mouth, Nose When coughing or sneezing, make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, because it may help prevent people around you from getting sick. In addition, patients should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, as germs can often spread this way.
- Avoid Close Contact Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick and, if you are sick, try to keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Stay Home If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal influenza: flu basics. www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm. Accessed November 15, 2014
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing the flu: good health habits can help stop germs. www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm. Accessed November 15, 2014.