It’s that time of the year again when coughing and sneezing sounds are commonly heard around the house, work and public places. While you can’t avoid interacting with people altogether, you can take preventive measures to decrease your chances of getting the flu.
How does the flu spread?
The flu virus is thought to spread from one person to another through droplets in the air that come from the nose and mouth when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks. Most adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
The virus may also spread when people touch contaminated surfaces and later touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Flu viruses generally can survive on surfaces between two and eight hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What can I do to prevent getting the flu?
- Get an annual flu shot, especially if you’re at least 65 years old, pregnant or have certain medical conditions.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading the virus to other people.
- If you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (except to get medical care).
- Clean frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, drawer pulls, appliance handles and electronic gadgets.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who aren’t feeling well.
Also, remember to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, eat nutritious food and exercise regularly to help boost your immune system against illnesses.