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How can you avoid the flu?

The Herald - 1/1/2018

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that in the United States, influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010. The elderly, pregnant women and the very young are most susceptible.

Most experts think that flu viruses are spread person to person 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. They can also land on door knobs, keyboard, handrails etc. Sharing items like eating utensils, toys, or linens can also spread flu viruses.

So what can you do to avoid the flu?

n Get a flu shot. With multiple cases in the district, it is time to think about a flu shot if you have not yet received one. Reports of subpar vaccine effectiveness for one strain of flu in the Southern Hemisphere where the flu season is wrapped up, should not stop you from getting vaccinated. The flu shot contains protection from multiple strains of flu, and the CDC still recommends that everyone over 6 months old get vaccinated. A newer vaccine, FluBlok, is available so people with egg allergies can get vaccinated for the flu.

n Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, stay away from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

n Stay home when you are sick. If you can, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

n Wash your hands well and often, especially before eating or after touching common surfaces like door knobs or handrails.

n Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

n Get care early. See your health care provider immediately if you develop flu symptoms which include: fever or feeling feverish/chills; cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue (very tired); and sometimes people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults. Antiviral medications can help if taken early in the illness.

n Completely cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it away. If you don't have a tissue use your upper sleeve or the crux of your elbow.

- Central Connecticut Health District


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