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10 Ways to Keep the Flu Away This Season

Jan 6, 2012

As Rhode Island's flu season gets into high gear, it's time to get smart
about prevention, according to the RI Department of Health. Here are 10
ways you can keep the flu at bay, even if you got your vaccination earlier
in the winter...

1. Use your elbow

Flu viruses spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another person. Cover your coughs and sneezes by coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

2. Wash up

Another way to spread (or get) the flu is when people touch something covered with infected droplets and then touch their eyes, mouth, or nose. Keep your hands extra clean this season by washing them throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.

3. Don't touch there.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

4. Don't be a hero. Stay home if you are sick

If you have flu-like symptoms (fever plus a cough or fever plus a sore throat), stay home from work, school, or child care until you have been fever-free (temperature less than 100.4ºF/38ºC) for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

5. Practice other good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

6. Clean it up

Flu viruses can live outside the body for up to two hours. These germs spread when someone sneezes or coughs and touches something that contaminates a surface. You can prevent or contain the spread of these germs by following these tips:

7. Wipe it down

Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

8. Throw it out

Throw away tissues and other items used by the sick person. Wash your hands after touching used tissues or other trash.

9. Be clean but not crazy

Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately. These items should not be shared without being washed thoroughly.

10. Laundry smarts

Wash linens (bed sheets and towels) in regular laundry detergent. Dry them on the hottest setting the fabric can tolerate. Avoid “hugging” dirty laundry before washing it to prevent spreading the germs. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel after handling dirty laundry.


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