(Excerpted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
It’s the bug of all super bugs. This year’s influenza (flu) activity is widespread across 49 contiguous states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends three actions to fight the flu:
1. Take the time to get a flu vaccine.
- The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. However, there is still time to get a flu shot this year. Learn more about vaccine timing.
- Vaccination of high-risk persons(https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm) is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu symptoms, 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.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over the counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also may prevent serious flu complications.
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later still can be helpful. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
- Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu.