No one likes to be sick, especially with the influenza virus or the flu. This disease can be cause for real concern, especially during the flu season (October through March). February is the “high point” of the flu season, but you can get the flu at any time of the year. Moreover, millions of people fall ill, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and tens of thousands die from the flu each year in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While it’s easy to get the flu, you can take steps to prevent it and lessen its effects. Follow the flu prevention tips below to protect yourself and those around you from the flu.
How flu spreads
Someone infected with the flu can spread it to others who are up to about six feet away. Most experts believe that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Sometimes these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
More often, a person may become contaminated by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it (such as doorknobs or push plates, drinking fountain handles, money/currency, etc.), and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
In addition, a flu-infected person may infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after symptoms develop. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms typically start one to four days after the virus enters the body.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. It is also possible to have the flu and suffer from respiratory symptoms yet have no fever.
Flu prevention tips
Take a flu vaccine
- Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to keep flu viruses at bay. Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
- There are many different flu viruses, but a flu vaccine protects against the most common viruses: H3N2, Influenza, and H1N1
- Each person aged six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, ideally before the flu season.
- People who care for children younger than six months should be vaccinated to prevent infecting the infants, who are too young to be vaccinated.
- Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of severe flu complications, such as young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health issues, and seniors.
- It’s also very important for health care workers, and those who care for high-risk people, to get vaccinated.
Prevent the spread of germs
- If you know someone has the flu, avoid close contact with them. If you have the flu yourself, limit contact with others and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Discard the tissue immediately after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If those aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid spreading or contracting a flu virus.
Take flu antiviral drugs (if prescribed by your doctor)
- Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that can be used to treat the flu. Always follow your doctor’s instructions for taking these drugs.
- Antiviral drugs can make an illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
- People with high-risk factors can take antiviral drugs to lessen the effects of flu.
- Antiviral drugs work best for treatment if they are taken within two days of getting sick. Starting them later can still be helpful, especially to high-risk people or those who are very sick from the flu.
For virus and pathogen removal and flu prevention, contact your local PuroClean office!
In some situations, properties must be cleaned to reduce the chance of spreading flu or other infectious diseases. If you have a property affected by infectious material, contact your local PuroClean restoration professionals. They are highly trained and skilled in situations involving pathogens.
We can effectively remediate pathogens using the RapidDefense™ Program, the best way to sanitize public areas. Using Environmental Protection Agency-registered, safe products, our system provides up to three months of protection against pathogen-based illnesses, such as Influenza. Contact us before an outbreak occurs to help you create a clean environment!