8 Ways to Stop the Spread of Flu Germs

Unfortunately, you’ve caught the flu. Keep from spreading it to your friends and family by following these tips.

Flu season can last from October through May, usually peaking in January and February. The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu vaccine. But if you or someone in your home is already sick, try to keep the virus from spreading to other family members.

Flu germs spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. Here are some tips that may help you keep the illness at bay:

  1. Stay home. To get over the flu and to prevent spreading it to others, stay home from work or school while you have flu symptoms. These may include body aches, fever, stuffy or runny nose, cough, headache, tiredness, and sore throat, Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea occur, but this is seen more often in children.
  2. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. This is the most important step you can take to stop the spread of germs. Dry your hands with a disposable paper towel. Carry an alcohol-based hand gel, spray, or wipes when you are out in case soap and water aren’t available. Wash your hands as soon as possible:

After:

  • Sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • Caring for a sick person
  • Using the bathroom
  • Changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal or its environment
  • Preparing food

Before:

  • Preparing food
  • Eating
  • Caring for a sick person
  1. Cover your mouth and nose with a clean tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away as soon as you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with your upper sleeve or the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  2. Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes. These are the places where germs can enter your body.
  3. Don’t share eating utensils, drinking glasses, or bottles with anyone else.
  4. Disinfect surfaces and objects that are commonly used, such as kitchen countertops, doors, sink handles, light switches, and telephones. Harmful germs can live on surfaces for days, so it’s important you clean them often with a disinfectant. Don’t forget computer keyboards, phones, and TV remotes.
  5. Clean clothes and bedding that may be contaminated with flu germs. Don’t shake sheets when you take them off the bed. Wash your hands after you handle dirty laundry and before you take clean laundry out of the washer or dryer.
  6. Avoid close contact with household members. Keeping your distance from other people may reduce their risk of catching the flu from you.

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