It’s that Flu-time of year again!

takingmeds380x250r1You know, and dread, the feeling.  Aches, pains, coughing, extreme fatigue…and it all came on you so fast!  Know what you can do to reduce your chances of “celebrating” (NOT) another flu season.


Steps you can take to reduce your risk

 FLU FACTS:  What you need to know

Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses that vary each year.

  • It is spread mainly from person to person through coughing, sneezing or talking.
  • Touching surfaces contaminated with the flu virus can also spread the flu.
  • Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year.
  • People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 3 step approach:

  • The most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year.flu-shot
  • The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated annually.
  • Infants <6 months are too young to receive the vaccination.  People who care for or live with them should be vaccinated.
  • If you contract the flu, there are prescription anti-viral drugs that can decrease the duration and intensity of the flu.  The key is early treatment.
  • The flu can be serious or even deadly for the elderly, newborns and people with certain chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

Every day actions to prevent the spread of germs that cause the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  You can also use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching the “T-Zone”: your eyes, nose and mouth.  This is the most common way germs are spread.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100° F) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®)Woman with tissue and hot drink

Best way to prevent spreading germs:  WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

The Right Way to Wash:

  • Wet hands with clean, running water, and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to lather.
  • Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under the nails.
  • Rub for at least 20 seconds.  Hint: sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Rinse well under running water.
  • Dry using a clean towel or air dry.
  • Alcohol hand sanitizer is just as effective.  Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until hands are dry.

Know the differences between Cold and Flu

Signs and Symptoms




Usually present



Usual, often severe



Fairly common



Moderate to severe


Symptom onset

Symptoms can appear within 3 to 6 hours

Symptoms appear gradually


Dry, unproductive cough

Hacking, productive cough




Stuffy Nose



Sore Throat



Chest discomfort

Often severe

Mild to moderate









Created by:  Toni Drumm, RN

Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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