Flu is caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs, and is generally spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A vaccination against the pandemic flu — when it is available — will be the best way to prevent the disease. To fight the annual flu, members of high-risk groups should get a flu shot. Even those who are not in the high-risk categories should get a flu shot if enough vaccine is available, especially healthcare workers.
The following simple, common-sense precautions can also help prevent the spread of all types of influenza. Recommended by the CDC, they should be communicated to your employees.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Stay home when you're sick or have flu symptoms. Get plenty of rest and check with a health care provider as needed.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you against germs. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and avoid smoking, which may increase the risk of serious consequences if you do contract the flu.