Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Tips to prevent flu infection

Published:Wednesday | January 26, 2022 | 12:05 AM

The best way to reduce the risk of contracting the seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated each year, but good healthy habits, like avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough and washing your hands, often can help to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There are also flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent an infection.

The following tips will help you learn about actions you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.

· Get a flu vaccine – even now

Flu season is in high gear, but it is not too late to be vaccinated. If you or a family member has not had a shot for the 2021-2022 season, call your doctor today and make an appointment. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu.

· Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

· Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others. Symptoms to watch for includes fever (not always present), chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, bodyaches, headaches, feeling tired, vomiting and/or diarrhoea (more common among children). Make sure you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the help of ibuprofen or acetaminophen) before you go back to work or school.

· Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

· Clean your hands

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

· Practise other good healthy habits

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

SOURCE: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)