Cold and flu season is here, which means that it’s easier than ever to get sick. Protect your health with these tips for avoiding germs and preventing colds and flu!
Colds and flu viruses spread through germs that jump from person to person through talking, coughing, sneezing, or touching the same surfaces. Although you can catch a cold or the flu at any time during the year, flu viruses are most common during the winter months—from December through March.
Colds can be easy to recognize: your nose starts running, your throat feels scratchy, or you’re suddenly more tired than usual. Flu symptoms are more severe and may include fever, head and body aches, chills, and exhaustion. If you have the flu, you may be capable of spreading it to other people as early as one day before symptoms appear and as much as one week after.
Use these tips to protect yourself from getting sick by preventing colds and flu!
Washing your hands correctly plays a big role in preventing the spread of germs. Be sure to wash your hands before and after eating, after you use the bathroom, and after you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose. If you have kids or pets, wash your hands after changing diapers, handling pet food, or cleaning up waste.
Always wash your hands after caring for or being around someone who is sick.
Follow these steps every time you wash your hands with soap and water:
If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer instead. Add sanitizer to your palms and rub your hands together, making sure that the sanitizer touches every part of your hands.
Colds and flu can go away on their own, but if they stick around for a long time your doctor may be able to treat your symptoms or prescribe medicine to help you feel better faster. Call 9-1-1 or visit the Emergency Room (ER) if you experience trouble breathing, chest pain, dizziness, or severe stomach pain or vomiting.
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“CDC Says ‘Take 3’ Actions to Fight the Flu,” CDC.gov. August 1, 2016.
“Coughing & Sneezing,” CDC.gov. December 28, 2009.
“Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu,” CDC.gov. May 21, 2013.
“The Flu Season,” CDC.gov. July 26, 2016.
“Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs,” CDC.gov. July 31, 2015.
“When & How to Wash Your Hands,” CDC.gov. September 5, 2015.