The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. The tips and resources below will help you learn about steps you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.
Getting sick with the flu is not fun, but for some (infants, elderly, immuno-compromised, and those with chronic diseases), getting the flu can be life threatening. The tips and resources below will help you learn about steps you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine to protect against 3-4 types of influenza and complications that come from the virus. Though flu vaccines do not cover you 100% from getting the flu, studies show having the vaccine can make symptoms milder. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but the people around you that are unable to receive the vaccine due to age (
“Does the flu shot give you the flu?”
No - Flu vaccines contain inactivated, dead viruses that trigger your immune response in order to develop antibodies against the flu. Sometimes the body reacts to the vaccine by displaying symptoms of the flu such as: headache, low-grade fever, muscle aches, and redness, tenderness at the injection site. These symptoms will most likely disappear after 1-2 days.
Reasons you may still get the flu or symptoms of the flu:
- Symptoms may be from other viral or bacterial infections
- You were infected with another strain of flu virus not covered in the vaccine
- Weakened immune system due to medications, lack of sleep, or other illness
- Immunity was not developed in time (Immunity develops about 2 weeks after receiving vaccine)
Stop the Spread
Be mindful of others when out in public or at home. Cover your cough or wear protective masks to prevent the spread of flu, especially in crowded areas. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer can greatly reduce the risk of you becoming ill. If you have the flu, the best way to prevent spread is by staying at home if possible.
Take Care of Yourself
In addition to good hygiene, it’s important you keep your immune system up to prevent catching the flu. You can easily improve your health and boost your immune system by:
- Getting at least 6 hours of sleep every night- Sleep helps our body and immune system recharge.
- Take daily vitamins- Vitamin C, D, B6, Zinc, and Magnesium are great supplements to take during flu season or for overall immune health.
- Managing stress- Stress and anxiety can zap you immune system leaving you unprotected against the flu.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise- Fruits and vegetables can give your body the antioxidants it needs to fight the flu while physical activity that increases your heart rate can boost your body’s immune response.
How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?
Learn the Symptoms by using F.A.C.T.S- Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, Sudden.
|Cold Symptoms||Flu Symptoms|
|Gradual Onset||Immediate Onset|
|Cough||Loss of Appetite|
Over-the-counter medications can relieve both symptoms of the cold and flu, but anti-viral medications such as Tamiflu or Xofluza may be useful (when symptoms are caught early) to stop symptoms from progressing. Rest and an increase in fluids can make a big difference in reducing recovering time.
When to go to the Hospital
Because the influenza virus can cause severe complications such as, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), & muscle (rhabdomyolysis) tissues, multi-organ failure, or sepsis, knowing when to go to the hospital is important.
Seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest Pain or pressure
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
For more information and emergency symptoms in children, see the CDC’s Flu Symptoms & Complications at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm
|Flu Prevention Survey|