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Flu Season Prevention
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick from flu?
CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu: vaccination, everyday preventive actions, and the correct use of antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.
A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
Take everyday actions to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research indicates will be most common.
- The 2019-2020 trivalent flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H1N1 virus, influenza A H3N2 virus, and the influenza B (Victoria) like virus. The 2019-2020 quadrivalent will cover the three recommended viruses in the trivalent along with the influenza B (yamagata lineage) virus.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu each year.
- Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and those who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for or live with them should be vaccinated to protect these babies.
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading flu to others.
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness. These drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
- Antiviral drugs work best when started in the first 2 days of symptoms to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and who are at increased risk of severe flu illness.
If You Get Sick What should I do if I get sick?
If you become ill with influenza symptoms you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to seek medical care. Most people are able to recover at home from flu without medical care.
Are there medicines to treat infection with flu?Yes.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu in your body. While a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in preventing flu, antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter; you must have a prescription to get them. Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for vaccination.
How long should I stay home if I'm sick?
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Continue to cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands even after you return to work. It is important to know that even if you don't have a fever, you may have flu and be contagious if you get flu symptoms.
EMERGENCY WARNING SIGNS In Adults:
Flu Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- fever *
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
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