According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a statement released on January 11th, 2013, “the flu is hitting the nation harder than it did at this time last year, but it could be peaking in some parts of the country”. The CDC's weekly report of flu activity for the week ending Jan. 5 shows that 47 states reported widespread flu activity, six more than the week before. That being said, Americans are still encouraged to get their annual flu vaccine.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, what other measures can people take to reduce their risk of getting the flu? The following list is a collection of measure you can take to reduce the spread of infection:
- Avoid contact with sick people whenever possible
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to reduce the spread of infection
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Clean and disinfect any objects that may be contaminated with germs
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs can easily spread this way
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
- Stay home from work/school if sick to reduce the spread of infection. Get plenty of rest.
The flu and the common cold have uniquely different symptoms. Knowing the differences can speed up your rate of recovery. The flu symptoms may include fever, body aches, dry cough, weakness and tiredness. The common cold, on the other hand, may include a runny nose, stuffy nose, mild sore throat, and no significant fever. Flu symptoms are much more aggressive in comparison to the common cold.
For more information on lowering your risk of the flu, check out the CDC website.