Flu activity is widespread in the U.S. While flu vaccination is the most important way to prevent flu, antiviral drugs are the most important way to treat flu.
1. Take every day preventative actions to help prevent the spread of germs.
- 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.
2. If you have not gotten a flu vaccine yet this season, get vaccinated now – it’s not too late!
- As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season.
- Flu vaccine is used to prevent flu illness, not treat it.
- It takes two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond and for these antibodies to provide protection.
- With many more weeks of flu activity expected for this flu season, there is still time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so. As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can protect you against flu!
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
- People who are at high risk for influenza complications should contact a healthcare professional promptly if they get flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated this season.
- 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.
*Adapted from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – January 31