Clean Hands Save Lives
Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is important everyday, not just during flu season.
Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
Got the flu? Need to see a doctor? Evaluate your symptoms.
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.
If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel (at least 60% alcohol) to clean hands. When alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers are used, apply enough to cover hands, rub in and let dry. No water is needed; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands. To learn more about prevention visit Clean Hands Save Lives.
Check out the links on the right for materials you can download on cleaning your hands, how to prevent the flu, HINI, seasonal flu, and much more. For current updates and more flu information visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a new site called Flu.gov. And learn 5 ways to avoid the flu and colds in our online library.
Prevent Flu - Get Vaccinated
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
In the United States, the flu season is usually from fall through early spring. Do you think you know all there is to know about the flu? Test your flu I.Q. today.
Should you get a flu vaccine? Everyone should have a flu shot each season. Those considered to be at higher risk include:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high-risk for complications from flu, including:
- Healthcare workers
- Household visitors of persons at high-risk for complications from the flu
- Household visitors and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Who should NOT be vaccinated? There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. These include:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
- People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
- Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group).
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated).
Prevent the Flu
The seasonal flu is a respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe
and even lead to death. Read the CDC's "Take 3" Actions to Fight the Flu brochure rthat ecommends three actions to protect against the flu.
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. So always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough and clean your hands either with soap and water or alcohol gel.
How long can an infected person spread flu to others?
People with the influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following becoming ill. Children, especially younger children, may be contagious for longer periods.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
Everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs:
What should I do if I get sick?
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting