The CDC recommends the following three actions to avoid the flu:
1. Get your flu vaccine. Everyone six months and older should get the vaccine. The end of October is the target date, but November and December are still good months to get it. Individuals who are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu include pregnant women, young children, the elderly and those with medical conditions such as asthma, liver disorders and heart disease should especially plan for an annual flu vaccine. Health care workers are another group which should consider the vaccine as part of their routine. If you have a child under six months old, you as the parent should also get the vaccine, because these children are too young to receive the vaccination themselves and the flu could be fatal to infants.
2. Take steps to prevent the spread of germs. If you get sick, stay home from school or work. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Wash with soap and water regularly throughout the day, not just after using the bathroom. Disinfect surfaces and objects that might get contaminated with germs, such as doorknobs, toys and countertops.
3. Get flu anti-viral drugs if you get sick. Antiviral drugs are not antibiotics. You must see your doctor to get the drugs which treat the flu. These drugs shorten the time you might be sick and prevent serious complications that can occur with the flu. It’s recommended to start the antiviral medications within two days of getting sick if possible, but starting it later is thought to still be helpful.
The CDC says that if you have flu like symptoms, you should stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications. The exception to this rule is to get medical treatment and care. Take care of those you love by staying home and away from them.
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