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3 Easy Steps to Protect Yourself from the Flu

1. Take time to get a flu vaccine
2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of viruses
3. Take flu antiviral medicine if your doctor prescribes it


1.Take time to get a flu vaccine

  • Doctors recommend getting a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • Each year, the flu vaccine protects against the most common strains of flu for that year.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of viruses

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the rubbish after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

3. Take flu antiviral medicine if your doctor prescribes it

  • If you get the flu, antiviral medicine can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. It may also prevent serious flu complications.
  • Antivirals are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Studies show that antiviral medicines work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this medicine.
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Adapted from