Simple Tips to Prevent the Flu This Season

Stay healthy this flu season with our simple tips on how to prevent the flu, including getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, and boosting your immunity naturally.

The best way to lower your flu risk is by getting a flu shot every year.1 Doctors say everyone over 6 months old should get the flu vaccine.1 Plus, simple steps like avoiding sick people, coughing into your arm, and washing hands often can cut flu spread.2

Flu spreads through tiny droplets when sick people cough, sneeze, or talk.2 You can also wear a mask for more protection. If someone sick wears a mask, it stops them from spreading the virus too much. And, it helps keep you from breathing in those tiny particles.

Key Takeaways

  • Get an annual flu vaccination to protect against the most common flu viruses.
  • Practice good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with sick individuals and stay home if you are feeling unwell.
  • Wear a mask to reduce the spread of the virus to others and protect yourself.
  • Take steps to improve indoor air quality and clean frequently touched surfaces.

Importance of Flu Prevention

The flu, or influenza, is a dangerous respiratory illness. It can make you very sick, even causing death. You might feel very tired, have a fever, cough, and body aches.3 Some people, like the elderly and kids, are more likely to have serious flu problems.1 It’s crucial to avoid getting the flu, especially when it’s going around a lot.1

Understanding the Risks of Influenza

The flu is easily spread and can cause big health issues.2 It spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing, up to 6 feet away.3 You can also get sick from people a day before they show symptoms, and up to 5 days after.3 The virus can stay on surfaces for 48 hours, so it’s easy to catch.3

Preparing for Flu Season

Getting the flu shot and staying clean helps a lot. It makes it less likely you’ll get sick, especially people at risk.2 The flu shot guards against three common flu virus types each year.2 To stop the flu, don’t get too close to sick people, stay home if you’re not well, and use a tissue when coughing or sneezing.2 Wash your hands a lot, and avoid touching your face.2

Cleaning things you touch often, like counters and doorknobs, also keeps you safe.2 Good air quality is important too. You should let fresh air in and maybe use an air purifier. This means less virus in the air around you.2

Get Vaccinated Against Flu

Getting a flu shot every year is key to staying healthy and keeping those around you safe. It helps protect against three common flu viruses.2 Everyone should consider the flu vaccine options each year, such as the standard shot, a stronger dose for the elderly, and a nose spray. These are recommended by the CDC for those six months and older.4

Types of Flu Vaccines Available

For this season, options like regular flu shots, strong doses for older adults, and others designed in special ways are out there.4 This mix of vaccines lets providers choose the best type for each person, depending on their age and health.4

When to Get a Flu Shot

The best time to get a flu shot is in early fall, before flu season starts.4 But, shots might be offered as early as August and as late as May.4 It’s always a good idea to be vaccinated by the end of October, yet getting your shot later can still help protect you.4

Practice Good Hygiene

Washing your hands is key to stopping the flu from spreading.2 Do it whenever possible. If you can’t use soap and water, an alcohol-based rub works.2 Here’s the trick: wet your hands, add soap, scrub them for 20 seconds, then rinse and dry well.5 Kids can sing “Happy Birthday” while washing to make sure they do it long enough.

Handwashing Technique and Reminders

To wash well, use soap and water for 20 seconds.5 Make sure to get the back of your hands, between fingers, and under your nails.5 Always follow these steps: Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.5 Getting into the habit of this keeps you from getting sick.6

Covering Coughs and Sneezes

When you cough or sneeze, grab a tissue. Cover your mouth and nose with it.2 This stops the flu from passing to others. It’s also a must to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.6

good hygiene

Avoid Close Contact

Avoiding people who are sick is key to stopping flu spread.2 The CDC advises against being near sick individuals to cut down on virus movement.2 If you’re unwell, don’t go to work, school, or gatherings. This helps keep others safe.2 Remember, stay at home until 24 hours past your fever without needing to see a doctor.

Staying Home When Sick

It helps to stay home if you’re sick until you feel better and your fever goes away.2 You can spread the flu a day before you see symptoms until about a week after.7 By isolating yourself, you protect your loved ones, friends, and others from getting ill.

Social Distancing During Flu Season

Try to keep your distance from people during flu season. Stay away from crowded spots when you can.2 Flu bugs can live on certain surfaces for hours.7 Less contact means reducing the chance of catching or spreading the flu.

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How to prevent the flu?

This article lists key steps to help you stay healthy during flu season. First off, make sure to get a flu shot every year. This is perhaps the most important step you can take.

Next, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Stay away from people who are sick. Clean surfaces that get touched a lot, and aim to make the air indoors as clean as possible. Also, live a healthy life to boost your immune system3.

Vaccines guard against the most likely flu strains each year. That’s why experts say everyone six months or older should get vaccinated every year. Doing this cuts down on how many people get sick3.

If you’re sick, wearing a mask keeps you from spreading the flu to others. It also stops you from breathing in flu germs around you. These are simple but effective steps2.

Keep your daily use items clean, like doorknobs and countertops. The flu virus can survive on these surfaces for up to 48 hours. If you touch these surfaces, you might get the virus on your hands. Then, if you touch your face, the virus can enter your body3.

Remember, you can pass the flu to others before you even know you’re sick. This can happen during the first day you feel ill and for five days after. You’re most contagious for about five days into being sick after symptoms first show, and for 48 hours after the fever3.

Schools and workplaces should have plans to keep everyone safe from the flu. They must be ready to clean often, offer supplies for good hygiene, and ensure the air is fresh. This is essential during flu outbreaks2.

Providing easy-to-understand materials, like posters that guide people on how to cough properly, helps with flu prevention. These materials should be available at different places, making it easier for everyone to stay well2.

By taking these steps, you can make a big difference. You’ll protect yourself and others from getting the flu, and keep your community safe.

Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

Cleaning surfaces everyone touches a lot, like countertops and doorknobs, can stop the flu from spreading.8 Use disinfectants that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves.8 Make sure to have enough tissues, soap, and wipes for cleaning. This helps keep places clean and fight the flu.

Frequently Touched Objects to Clean

Things like doorknobs, tables, and phones should always be kept clean.89 Regular cleaning and disinfecting lower the chances of the flu spreading.89

Effective Disinfecting Products

Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 quart (4 cups) of water to disinfect. For bigger needs, ¼ cup bleach with 1 gallon (16 cups) of water is good.8 Read the label on disinfectants. They often must sit on surfaces for 3 to 5 minutes to work.9 Never mix bleach with ammonia. This can be deadly. So, always be careful not to mix cleaners and disinfectants.9

Products that can kill the H1N1 virus are great for keeping things disinfected.9 After someone sick uses items like plates or towels, wash them well with soap. And, don’t share these things until they are very clean.8 Remember, many cleaning products need gloves or eye protection when you use them.8

Dispose of trash safely, use no-touch waste bins, and clean up well after.8 Make sure everyone, no matter their language, knows how to safely use cleaning products.9

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Enhancing indoor air quality helps lower the spread of the flu. We can do this by letting in fresh outside air, using air purifiers, and going outdoors.10 Good ventilation and keeping humidity from 40-60% are important. They cut the risk of flu viruses inside.10 Air purifiers with HEPA filters also help by removing tiny particles. This makes the air inside healthier.10

11 People in the U.S. typically spend 90% of their time indoors. This means they breathe a lot of indoor air.11 Indoor air can be up to five times worse with pollutants than outdoor air. So, it’s crucial to keep the air inside clean.11 Cleaning the air can lower the amount of viruses in it. This reduces the chance of getting sick.

11 Opening windows and doors for at least 10 minutes each day is a simple way to make the air better. This lets fresh air in and reduces indoor pollution.11 Using air cleaners that have HEPA and charcoal filters works, especially in areas with bad outside air.11 Doing regular tasks like vacuuming, dusting with special cloths, and not burning things indoors keeps the air clean. This helps in creating a healthy home.

Boost Your Immunity

Maintaining a strong immune system is key to fighting the flu. By adopting healthy habits and some natural ways, you can support your body’s defense. This lowers your chances of getting the flu.12

Healthy Habits for Immune Support

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for a strong immune system. Aim for 7 to 8 hours every night.12 Exercise regularly to keep your immune system strong.12

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Handling stress well is also important. Try relaxation exercises and stress management. These can make a big difference for your immune system.12

Drinking enough water and eating well-rounded meals are vital. They provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your immune system needs. Also, eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.13 Protein from foods like milk, yogurt, and eggs is key for your immune system as well.13

Natural Remedies to Consider

Healthy habits are the first step. But, some natural remedies can further boost your immune system. Vitamin C, found in fruits and veggies, is great for your immune system.13 Foods rich in zinc, like beef, seafood, and beans, also help your immune health.13 Probiotics from yogurt, kefir, and kimchi can enhance your gut’s immune system.13

Always check with a doctor before trying new supplements or remedies. This ensures they’re safe for you. With the right mix of healthy habits and natural strategies, you can support your body in fighting the flu and staying well.121314

Flu Prevention at School

Parents and caregivers must start early with flu prevention at school.2 They should ask about the school’s action plan for flu. This plan might include steps like regular cleaning of surfaces and providing flu shots. It’s also important to know what happens if a student gets sick.15 Asking these questions helps make sure kids and teachers are safe.2

Asking About School Flu Policies

Knowing the school’s flu prevention methods is key for parents and caregivers.15 Questioning the school on their strategy is smart. Find out about their cleaning methods, flu shots, and how they handle sick students. This ensures the school is doing all it can to keep everyone healthy.2

Understanding how the school deals with students missing due to flu is also vital.2 This knowledge helps you decide when it’s best to keep your child home. Staying in the loop with the school’s flu prevention can also help you help them.15

Flu Prevention at Work

Employers are key in flu prevention efforts. They should let workers know their plans to fight the flu. This includes giving flu shots at work, keeping up with hand washing and cleaning, and rules for when someone gets sick.2 They also need to plan to keep things going if people get sick and can’t come to work. This might mean teaching other workers extra jobs.2

Workplace Flu Preparedness

As flu season hits, businesses must prepare to keep everyone safe. This means having a solid workplace flu preparedness plan. They should push for flu shots at work, make sure cleaning and sanitizing stuff is on hand, and keep sick employees away from others.2 Doing these things lets companies protect their teams and keep working well.

Staying Productive When Sick

If someone gets the flu, it’s best they stay home until they get better. This stops the flu from spreading.16 The CDC says they should stop coming in until they are fever-free for a day without medicine.16 This way, workers can look after themselves and not put others at risk, which helps the company keep running smoothly.

Treatment Options for the Flu

The best way to fight the flu is to avoid it. But if you get sick, there are treatments.17 Taking antiviral medications like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) within 48 hours of feeling sick can make symptoms milder.171819 You can also use home remedies like resting, drinking water, and taking pain medicines. These steps may help you feel better.17 Before doing anything, talk to a doctor.

Antiviral Medications

17 Doctors suggest antiviral drugs for those more at risk, like people with asthma, diabetes, or heart issues.171819 Antiviral drugs work best if you take them in the first two days of being sick.1719 They can make symptoms less severe and shorten how long you’re sick by a day.1918 Common antiviral drugs are oseltamivir (Tamiflu), baloxavir (Xofluza), and zanamivir (Relenza).1819 Those in the hospital might get peramivir (Rapivab).18

1718 People with mild symptoms might not need antiviral drugs.17 Anyone who gets these medicines should see their sickness end earlier, maybe by a day. However, they could cause upset stomach.18

Home Remedies for Symptom Relief

17 If you like natural treatments, try getting lots of rest, drinking water, and using medications for pain and fever.17 Always check with a doctor first.

When to Seek Medical Care

Most folks with the flu can get better at home. They just need rest and some medicine they can buy without a prescription.20 But, if your symptoms are really bad or you’re at risk for more serious issues, see a doctor.21 This is particularly true for young children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with certain health problems like asthma or heart disease.21

If you’re finding it hard to breathe, or have chest pain, sudden dizziness, or feel confused, seek help right away.20 The same goes for people with heart or lung problems, diabetes, or weak immune systems who notice flu symptoms. They should also talk to a doctor.22

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The flu comes with a mix of symptoms. You might have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.21 Don’t forget about the runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue, and sometimes stomach troubles.21 If you feel like you have the flu, it’s best to stay home until you’ve been fever-free for a whole day without medicine.21 Watch out for warning signs that mean you need help fast, like trouble breathing or severe chest pain.21


There are many steps to avoid the flu and stay healthy when it’s spreading. These steps include getting a flu shot23, keeping clean24, and staying away from those who are sick. It’s also important to keep high-touch areas clean, improve the air inside, and make healthy habits a regular part of life.

If you work to prevent the flu, you can lower your chances of getting it23. This also helps keep the flu from spreading in your community. Remember, by following the tips in this article and staying healthy, you can protect yourself and those you care about from the flu’s effects.

Overall, the top way to fight the flu is with several different methods. This means getting the flu shot, practicing good hygiene, and working on your health. With these steps, you can face the flu season ready and help keep your community healthy too.


What is the single best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu?

Getting a flu shot every year is the best way to lower your risk of flu. This helps prevent severe health issues caused by the virus.

What other preventive actions can help stop the spread of the flu virus?

There are several steps you can take. Avoid those who are sick. Be sure to cover your mouth when you cough. And always wash your hands.These actions can stop germs from spreading. They are especially good at keeping respiratory viruses, like the flu, at bay.

How do flu viruses spread?

Flu viruses mostly move through droplets in the air. When someone with flu talks, coughs, or sneezes, they release these droplets. This is why wearing a mask can help keep others safe.

Who is at higher risk of developing complications from the flu?

The flu can be more serious for some people. This includes the elderly, young children, and those with certain health problems. They are more likely to face complications if they get the flu.

When is the optimal time to get a flu shot?

For most protection, get your flu shot in the fall. While vaccines are often available through May, August is when they may first show up.

How long should you wash your hands to prevent the flu?

Wash your hands well to keep flu germs away. Wet them first and apply soap. Then, rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.Rinse and dry with a clean towel. Good handwashing is a powerful way to stay healthy.

How long should you stay home if you have the flu?

Once your fever is gone, stay home for another 24 hours. This helps keep others from getting sick. It’s a tip from the CDC to stop the flu from spreading further.

How can improving indoor air quality help reduce the risk of flu transmission?

Bringing in fresh air and using purifiers can make indoor air cleaner. When you’re outside, even better. Cleaner air means fewer flu viruses in the air, which lowers your risk of catching it.

What are some natural remedies that may help boost the immune system?

Herbs and vitamins may help your immune system. But, always talk to a doctor before trying new supplements or remedies. They can advise you on what’s best for your health.

What should parents and caregivers ask about their school’s flu preparedness?

Ask your school about their flu plans. Make sure they clean surfaces often and offer vaccines. It’s also good if they know how to separate sick kids from healthy ones.

What should employers do to help prevent the spread of the flu in the workplace?

Employers can do a lot to keep the flu from spreading at work. This includes giving flu shots, providing hand-cleaning supplies, and isolating sick employees. Having a plan in action helps keep the business running, too.

What are the treatment options for the flu?

If you catch the flu, start antivirals within 48 hours. They can make the illness shorter and less severe. Home remedies, like getting rest and drinking fluids, are also key to feeling better.

When should you seek medical care for the flu?

If breathing becomes hard or you feel chest pain, get help right away. The same goes for sudden dizziness or confusion. This is crucial for those with health issues too, if they feel flu symptoms coming on.

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