2011 Flu Facts
Preventing the Flu
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated. The vaccine for the 2010-2011 flu season includes protection against three flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
You should also take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- 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 your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid contact with sick people.
- Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (without use of a fever-reducing medicine).
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever *
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Taking Care of Yourself If You Are Sick
If you have been diagnosed with the flu, you should stay home, follow your doctor’s orders, and watch for signs that you need immediate medical attention. It’s important to:
- Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages made for infants to prevent becoming dehydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Talk to your doctor about antiviral medications. These are prescription drugs that can be used for prevention or treatment of the flu viruses. They could make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.
Emergency Warning Signs
It is best to stay home and avoid contact with people if you have the flu. You should, however, seek medical attention right away if you have any of these warning signs:
- Have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Experience pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Have sudden dizziness
- Become confused
- Have severe or persistent vomiting
- Experience flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.