Being sick isn’t fun, but missing out on family vacations or parties for the big game because you are sick is even worse.
Getting a flu shot, washing your hands frequently and disinfecting hard surfaces are just a few things you can do to avoid getting sick. Additionally, Clorox partnered with epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor at Columbia University, to share some basics about the flu virus.
What is the Flu Virus?
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
Most people who get the flu virus tend to recover within a few days to two weeks, barring any complications. Anyone can get the flu virus, but young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older and people with lung disease or weakened immune systems tend to be more susceptible to more severe or longer-lasting symptoms.
Flu v. Cold
Like the flu virus, the common cold is a viral respiratory illness. Many different viruses can cause the “common cold.” Cold symptoms can mimic flu symptoms, but a cold is generally less severe than the flu virus. Cold symptoms may begin with a sore throat and usually include a runny nose and congestion or a cough. Colds tend to resolve in about a week.
Cold and Flu Prevention Tips
- Vaccinate: The first and most important step in flu virus prevention is vaccination. You can’t get the flu virus from the vaccine, but the vaccine takes about two weeks to work, so don’t delay. The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu virus vaccine for almost everyone 6 months and older – even when the viruses the vaccine protects against are the same as the previous season.
- Keep your hands to yourself and away from your face: Germs are often spread when someone touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface. Wash your hands often, including after using the bathroom and before preparing or serving food.
- Disinfect hard surfaces: To prevent the spread of germs in your home and beyond, the CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched, hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, light switches and faucets, with an EPA-registered disinfectant like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. They help kill 99.9 percent of germs that can live for up to 48 hours on hard, non-porous surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with sick people: So that you don’t miss out on anything this flu season, try to avoid people who are, or were recently, infected with the flu virus. Also remember to cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home when you’re sick: Take a few days off from work or school if you come down with the flu virus to help avoid spreading it to others. On average, someone with the flu virus spreads it to two people, so staying home can make a difference. Most adults and children can infect others with the flu virus a day or so before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick.
Missing out is never fun, so help stop the spread of germs and protect yourself this flu season.