Infection with influenza virus can be prevented by the use of combination of actions that include getting flu shot annually, avoiding contact with people who have flu, washing hands often with soap and water (or using alcohol-based sanitizer to cl
Flu is caused because of infection with the influenza virus. It is a common infection, which affects millions of people every year. Most people with flu recover without any complications, but anyone who gets flu can develop complications. Fortunately, the risk of getting infected with influenza virus can be prevented. There is no one way to prevent flu. You can decrease your risk of getting infected by using a combination of actions and not by the use of any single method. Following these steps daily can help you protect your health and the health of people close to you.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze: Tissue should be used to cover the nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. The dirty tissue should be disposed in a waste bin. If you do not have tissue, sneeze into your sleeve. The virus is transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person through the droplets (virus present in infected person's sneeze or cough).
Wash your hands frequently: Use soap and water to wash your hands frequently. It is considered to be one of the best ways to prevent many common infections. If soap and water is not available, you may use alcohol-based sanitizer to clean your hands. The sanitizer must have at least 60 per cent alcohol. Hand sanitizers are as good as soap and water when it comes to removing germs from your hands, but if your hands appear dirty, use soap and water to clean them.
Avoid being touchy: Remember not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth as the infection may spread this way.
Avoid people with flu-like illness: If possible, avoid contact with people, who have flu-like illness. If you have flu-like illness, stay at home at least for a day after your fever resolves. This can help to prevent the spread of infection from you to other healthy people at school or work place.
Take medications: Some influenza antiviral medications can help to prevent flu. Take these medications as advised by your doctor.
Get vaccinated: Flu shot (vaccine) is the best method to prevent flu. Vaccines are drugs that help to prevent one from getting sick. Vaccines encourage the body to form antibodies that attack the specific germ against which you have received the vaccine. After getting vaccinated your body develops antibodies against the flu virus and gets prepared to attack the virus when it enters your body. The vaccine can be given to anyone older than 6 months of age. It is given every year for continued protection from influenza virus.
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for people at high-risk of getting flu or experiencing its complications:
- people over 65 years
- pregnant women
- people with chronic disease, such as chronic heart disease; asthma or any other chronic lung disease; kidney disease (such as renal failure, end stage renal disease); chronic liver disease (such as cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis); diabetes which increases the risk of complications and death in flu
- people with any serious medical problem (such as cancer; weak immune system because of disease, medication or treatment)
- residents of long-term care facility
- person taking care of anyone at risk of complications of the flu
- healthcare professionals
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