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    Three steps to fight the flu (influenza)

    Each year in the United States, about 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu complications; children 5 years old and younger make up 20,000 of those hospitalized; and 36,000 people die from influenza.

    Here are three things you can to to help fight the flu.


    Get your flu shot as your first step in fighting influenza.

    • Many studies prove the flu vaccine is safe and the most effective way to protect against influenza.
    • Virtually everyone 6 months old and older should get the influenza vaccine.
    • This season’s flu vaccine protects against three different influenza viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus.
    • Influenza viruses change every year, so the vaccine must change based on the most prevalent types of influenza viruses for the upcoming season.

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    Stop the spread of germs

    • Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based sanitizer, cover your cough and stay home when sick.
    • Sneeze or cough into the bend of your arm or use a tissue.
    • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering your body.
    • If you are sick, stay home from work, school and social activities for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
    • Call your family doctor first if you feel worse.

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    Take care if you get the flu

    If you have influenza, you may feel very sick and tired as well as achy, feverish and dehydrated. Sore throat, dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, headache or sometimes diarrhea can be common.

    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever. Do not give children aspirin. Pregnant women should not take ibuprofen.
    • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
    • Keep separate from other members of your household.
    • Do not use alcohol or tobacco.
    • If you have severe illness or are at high risk for flu complications, contact your doctor or seek medical care.
    • Individuals at higher risk for flu complications include people older than 65, young children and people of any age with chronic health conditions.

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    Other Home Treatment Tips

    When to call the doctor
    Dos and Don'ts for flu symptom medications

    From our HealthWise Health Library
    General home treatment for the flu
    Antiviral medications for the flu

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