The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges immediate vaccination for anyone still unvaccinated and also prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for those who have developed the flu.
“We can save lives with a three-pronged effort to fight the flu,” explained Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H and CDC director. Frieden recommends vaccination, prompt treatment for people at high risk of complications and preventive health measures, such as staying home when you’re sick, to reduce flu spread.
- Get vaccinated. While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older gets a flu vaccine. Vaccination ofhigh-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Take preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people and wash your hands often with soap and water or analcohol-based hand rub. Also, reduce the spread of germs by not touching your eyes, nose and mouth and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Get flu antiviral drugs prescribed if sick. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. Antiviral drugs, which are prescribed medicines that are not available over-the-counter, can help treat the flu by making the illness milder and shortening the time you are sick.
For more information about the 2014-2015 influenza season, visit www.cdc.gov.
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