How To Prevent The Flu

With Flu Season now officially underway, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself. We often start to see a rise in influenza activity in October/November, with the peak usually between December and February. Cases can still crop up as late as May. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, it is highly recommended to get vaccinated early in fall,  ideally by the end of October.

prevent the flu
1. Take preventative actions every day to help prevent the spread of germs.
  • If you do get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Also, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread this way. Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
2. If you have not gotten a flu vaccine yet this season, get vaccinated now – it’s not too late!
  • As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season.
  • Flu vaccine is used to prevent flu illness, not treat it.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
  • People who are at high risk for influenza complications should contact a healthcare professional promptly if they get flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated this season.
  • CDC recommends rapid treatment of seriously ill and high-risk flu patients with antiviral drugs.
  • It is very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.
*Adapted from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – January 31