The bad news is you've got the flu. The good news is you can stop it from spreading to your friends and family.
Most people who catch the flu get better within a week. But even when you feel better, you can still make other people sick. Getting your flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. Your primary care doctor can give you the shot. Your local pharmacy may be a quick and easy choice too. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
But what if you or someone in your home is already sick? What can you do to stop the spread of germs?
Flu germs spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. People can also catch it by touching surfaces and objects with flu germs on them. Here are some tips that may help you stop the spread of illness.
Stay home. If you show any signs of the flu, stay home from work or school. Body aches, fever, stuffy or runny nose, cough, headache, tiredness and sore throat. These are all signs of the flu. You may also have vomiting (throwing up) and diarrhea (loose poop). But this happens more often in children. As a general rule, you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. And that’s after you’ve stopped taking any fever medicine.
Wash your hands often. This is one of the most important things you can do to help stop the spread of germs. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water. When you’re out, bring an alcohol-based hand cleanser with you. It should contain at least 60 percent alcohol. That way, you’ll always be ready even if soap and water aren’t available.
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. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands.
Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Germs spread this way.
Don’t share knives and forks, drinking glasses or bottles with anyone.
Disinfect surfaces and objects that you use often. Things like kitchen countertops, doors, sink handles and light switches, for example. Harmful germs can live on surfaces for hours. That’s why it’s important to clean them often with a disinfectant.
Don’t get too close to friends and family. Keeping your distance will help lower the chance of people catching the flu from you.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC says “take 3” actions to fight the flu. Accessed: September 2, 2016.
- Centers for Disease. Key Facts about Influenza (Flu). Accessed: September 2, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed: September 2, 2016.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.