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  • Jan 29, 2018

How do you prevent the spread of the flu?

Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after disposing of dirty tissues.

By Lou Ann Bruno-Murtha, DO, Division Chief, CHA Infectious Diseases.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there have been over 2,800 confirmed instances of influenza across the state already. That’s a huge increase over last season when only around 800 cases were reported. Flu season in the United States generally runs from October to May, with a peak between December and February.

The best strategy to prevent the flu virus is to get an annual flu vaccine as it will help build the necessary antibodies for preventing influenza or minimize the severity of illness. Haven’t had your flu shot yet? It’s not too late! Here's how:

  • Call the CHA primary care team.
  • Or, visit a CHA Pharmacy.
  • Or, ask your local health department.

Unfortunately, a flu shot won't keep everyone healthy. But, getting the flu shot each year can mean that if you do get the flu, you might have only a mild case. Beyond receiving a flu shot, here are a few suggestions (not exciting but effective) on how to prevent the spread of germs that might carry the flu virus:

  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing.
  • Use the nearest trash barrel to dispose of tissues.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after disposing of dirty tissues.
  • Wipe down surfaces, e.g. desk space, kitchen counter, car seats, at least once a week with sanitary wipes or more frequently if a flu-like illness or cold is circulating in your home or workplace.
  • Stay home when sick to keep illnesses from spreading and call a healthcare provider if symptoms progress or if you have other diseases that increase your risk for complications.

For more great information about the flu check out the resources available at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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