Flu Prevention

Flu Prevention Facts and Information

Influenza (the flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. There are many different influenza viruses that are constantly changing. Flu viruses cause illness, hospital stays and deaths in the United States each year. The flu can be very dangerous for children. Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications, like pneumonia.

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

View Nonpharmaceutical Interventions and CDC's Community Interventions for Infection Control Unit (PDF).

Do Your Part, Slow the Spread of GermsFlu Prevention Facts

  • An annual flu vaccine is recommended by the CDC. You can call your local health department to find out where the Flu Vaccine is available in your town.
  • Try to avoid coming in close contact with others who are sick
  • People with the flu may be able to infect others by shedding virus from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hand washing is not an option
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes as germs spread this way
  • Clean surfaces and object that could possibly get flu germs on them (Wipe your mobile phone down)

What if I Have the Flu?

  • If you believe you have the flu or may be sick, call your doctor
  • Symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, congestion, fatigue, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches
  • Note that you may only get some of these symptoms and not all of them
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you have to cough or sneeze
  • If you get flu-like symptoms without a fever, stay home after you get sick to lower the chances of spreading your illness to others.
  • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen. This will help ensure that your fever is truly gone and you are past the point of being contagious.
  • Children and people with weakened immune systems may need to stay home longer.

Do Your Part, Slow the Spread of Germs Information SheetWhy Is It Important to Stay Home?

Your body needs rest to recover from illness. It can take longer to feel better when you do not rest. You can spread the flu virus up to 24 hours after symptoms subside. People with weakened immune systems often need even more time to recover and to stop being contagious.

Caring for Someone Who Has the Flu

  • Avoid being face to face with the person
  • If you are holding a sick child, place their chin on your shoulder so they cannot cough in your face
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap after being with the person and after touching their belongings or anything they have touched
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hand washing is not an option
  • Disinfect door handles, counters, toys, computers, and frequently touched surfaces to help the spread of germs.
Preventing the Spread of Influenza