What is the flu?Flu or influenza is a viral infection in the nose, throat and lungs. The flu virus is spread mainly from person to person through coughing and sneezing from an infected person. The flu can also be spread by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. According to the CDC, most individuals are able to pass the virus on to others one day before symptoms appear and up to five days after becoming sick.
Who should get the vaccine?
- everyone 6 months of age and older who does not have any contraindications
- pregnant women
- people who have chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes
- people who live with or care for people at high risk of developing flu-related complications
Symptoms of flu include:
- fever (equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) or
- chills and
- cough or sore throat.
In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
To protect yourself, take everyday precautions:
- Take time to get vaccinated
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin, or until you have been symptom free for 24 hours. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further
- Limit using your colleagues work equipment, including telephones, keyboards and cell phones as viruses can be transmitted through objects.
Visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ for more information.