The easiest way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a seasonal flu vaccine every year. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
You should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. You can also...
Wash Your Hands
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
Washing with soap and water:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. This is about the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice through.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. Sharing cloth towels can spread germs. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean hands.
Cover Your Cough
Flu virus is spread through the coughs and sneezes of those infected with flu. Encourage those who are sick to cover their coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue if you have one. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
- Throw out used tissues in the trash as soon as you can and wash your hands after discarding used tissues.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.
- If you cough or sneeze into your hand, wash your hands.
- If you are not near soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, rubbing hands until dry.
Have Healthy Habits
Establishing good health habits now can help your body stay healthy and fight off the flu and other illnesses. Follow these tips to keep your body healthy to help fight off the flu should you get it.
- Eat a balanced diet including plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grain products.
- Drink plenty of water and go easy on salt, sugar, alcohol and saturated fat.
- Exercise regularly. Thirty or more minutes of physical activity most days of the week can help boost your immunity.
- Get plenty of rest. Sleep is shown to help your body fight off illness.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread this way.
- Stay away from people who are sick as much as you can.
- If you get sick, stay home from work and keep sick children from school or child care.