Fight back before the flu takes you down with these proven strategies:
- Take time to get the flu shot. Experts say the single best way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available. The ideal time to get your flu shot is early fall. But if you haven’t had your shot yet, make plans now. For more information about this year’s flu shot, visit visit CDC.gov/flu External Site or talk to your doctor. Flu shots are covered once a year at no cost to you by the Medicare program.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. People with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away. Keep germs off of your hands by sneezing into a tissue or paper towel. If you don’t have one available, sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Do your best to avoid being around people who are coughing and sneezing.
- Scrub your hands. A drizzle of water won’t do the trick. Scrub often with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. Gel sanitizers are a great option when water and soap aren’t available.
- Keep your hands off your face. The average person touches his or her face 16 times per hour.1 Resist the urge to rub your eyes or touch your mouth, nose and face. These little habits can be exactly what the flu virus needs to get into your system.
- Stay home when you're sick. A recent survey finds 66 percent of Americans go about their daily activities even when they have the flu. The same survey revealed 59 percent of Americans are annoyed when others show up sick at work or other activities, putting others at risk.2
For more flu information, visit CDC.gov/flu External Site.
1 University of California, Berkeley, June 2008
2 The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, January 2011