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Tips for the Flu Season

August 1, 2010

Seasonal Flu Versus Pandemic Flu - Tips to Stay Healthy This Season

The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. In the US, there is a flu season that begins every fall and ends every spring. Sometimes a new type of flu virus may emerge that people have no resistance to.When people have no resistance to a flu it can spread more easily from person to person around the world in a very short time, causing serious illness and death. This kind of flu is called "Pandemic Flu." The two types of flu are very similar in symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Most people who get seasonal flu recover within a week or two and do not require medical treatment. Pandemic flu is different because more people who get it might not recover, even with medical treatment, and people of every age may be a risk of serious illness. As always, the concern for the very young and the very old and the very sick are more of a concern.

Being Prepared
There are some things that everyone can do to slow the spread of the flu and reduce its impact, whether the viruses involved are seasonal or pandemic flu viruses:

  • Get your yearly flu shot
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. This will reduce the change of spreading flu from one person to another.
  • When using an alcohol-based sanitizer, use directed amount of sanitizer, rub thoroughly over all surfaces of the hands, including nail areas and between the fingers. Rub until product dries.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and clean your hands afterwards. If you don’t have a tissue or cloth, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow or upper arm.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep flu germs from entering your body.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Respiratory droplets passed from one person to another can spread flu. These droplets can pass among people in close contact.
  • Avoid sharing objects – such as utensils, cups, bottles and telephones. If you must share, disinfect the objects before using them.
  • Keep your living and work areas clean.

Source: The American Red Cross