Protect yourself and your family against flu
Flu activity has increased sharply in recent weeks, with widespread activity reported in 49 states according to the last CDC Flu View report.
While flu vaccination is the most important way to prevent influenza, antiviral drugs are the most important way to treat influenza infection. Studies have shown that early treatment with a flu antiviral drug can shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms, and can reduce the risk of serious flu complications.
CDC recommends these drugs be used as soon as possible in people who are severely ill or people who are at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms. For people with an age or medical factor that puts them at high-risk of serious flu complications, prompt treatment with a flu antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness and a stay in the hospital.
At this time, vaccination to prevent future cases of influenza is still a good idea. There are likely weeks of flu activity to come during the current flu season so vaccination can still offer important protection. While influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been most common to date, it is not unusual for different flu viruses to circulate at different times of the season and most flu vaccines protect against four different influenza viruses.
Take three steps to fight flu:
1. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
• People who are at high risk for influenza complications should contact a health care professional promptly if they get flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated this season.
• If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
• CDC recommends rapid treatment of seriously ill and high-risk flu patients with antiviral drugs.
• It is very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.
2. Take every day preventative actions to help prevent the spread of germs.
• If possible, try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you do get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Also, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread this way. Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
3. If you have not gotten a flu vaccine yet this season, get vaccinated now - it’s not too late. For more information about the seriousness of flu and the benefits of flu vaccine and treatment, talk to your family doctor.