7 Steps to Prevent the Flu

TRUE or FALSE?
The flu virus spreads from person-to-person in droplets of coughs or sneezes.
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Answer is: TRUE!
The virus can also spread if a person touches droplets on another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands.

The most important step someone can take is to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older.
Follow these 7 steps to help prevent the spread of the flu virus:
1.     Stay home if sick.
2.     Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
3.     Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If that’s not possible, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands. People with the flu can spread it to others about six feet away through coughs and sneezes.
4.     Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
5.     Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
6.     Disinfect surfaces used commonly such as door knobs, switches, phones, computers & remote controls.
7.     If someone has the flu they should avoid contact with others as much as possible.

DO I HAVE THE FLU? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children). If someone thinks they have the flu, their health-care provider should be consulted. Someone should seek medical care immediately if they develop any of the following symptoms:m8740094_167x82-flu-grey

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
    • Children – not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting. Fever with a rash. No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the free Red Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices.You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting redcross.org/FluTips.

Red Cross Offers Flu-Prevention Tips for Kids Going Back to School

As parents and teachers know, children have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses at school. As the number of swine flu (H1N1 Flu Outbreak) cases increases in the U.S., it becomes even more important to teach kids how to stay healthy.

Teach Good Health Habits
Proper and consistent hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of flu. Teach kids by example by showing them proper hand washing technique:

  • Wet hands with water and apply an amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer to hands.
  • Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and giving added attention to fingernails and surfaces where jewelry is worn.
  • Rinse hands with water.
  • Dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use towel to turn off faucet.

For younger children who may rush their hand washing, have them sing a short song such as “Row Row Row Your Boat,” or the “Happy Birthday”song, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds. Placing hand-washing reminders at children’s eye level will also help them become consistent hand washers.

Teach kids to adopt these other healthy habits in order to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid sharing objects such as utensils, cups, and bottles.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards. If tissue-less, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm, not your hands.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering your body.

Parents should also prepare for the potential spread of swine flu by talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick. Also ask your child’s school or day care if there are plans to encourage sick children to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease.