Flu is a serious contagious disease. Each year in the United States, on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from seasonal flu complications. This flu season could be worse that’s why it is very important to take precautionary measures.
There is a new and very different influenza virus causing illness called H1N1. The Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects both H1N1 flu and seasonal flu to cause illness, hospital stays and deaths this season and is preparing for an early and possibly severe flu season.
Flu-like symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea
Take these 3 Actions to fight the flu
These actions will protect you against H1N1 too!
1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.
Seasonal Flu Vaccination is especially important for:
- People at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from making them sick.
2. Take everyday preventive actions.
Be sure to do the following to protect you from the flu virus:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. It is important that you throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Please note that your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.
If you get seasonal or H1N1 flu, antiviral drugs can treat the flu. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.
The priority use for antiviral drugs this season is to treat people who are very sick (hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu-like symptoms and who are at increased risk of serious flu complications, such as pregnant women, very young children, people 65 and older and anyone with certain chronic health conditions. Most people have been able to recover at home from 2009 H1N1 without needing medical care and the same is true of seasonal flu.
Here are more facts about antiviral drugs:
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
- They may also prevent serious flu complications.
- For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started within the first 2 days of symptoms.
- Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the- counter and are different from antibiotics.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ or go to www.flu.gov. You can also call the Department of Health and Human Services at 800-CDC-INFO.
- Ways To Avoid The Flu
- Facts About The Swine Flu
- Drugs For Treating The Flu
- Tips On How To Avoid Getting Sick
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