Best practices to avoid the flu:
1. Get the flu shot
What health professionals most recommend is getting your flu shot. It is especially important to safeguard children, those over 65 years old and pregnant women.
“Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to the flu,” Duncan said. “The flu shot also protects the baby after being born for as long as six months after delivery, so it’s doubly protective.”
2. Wash your hands
Good hand washing practices can kill and prevent the spread of germs. Alcohol-based hand rubs are an alternative when soap and water isn’t an option.
3. Avoid people who are sick
When possible, an obvious tip for people who do not want to catch the flu is to prevent contact with people who are sick.
4. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve
This simple action can help safeguard other by preventing the spread of germs, Antonellis said.
5. Avoid mouth and eye contact
Bebinger said it is important for people to also consider surfaces other people touch that may have these viruses. He said avoiding rubbing your eyes or putting your hand in your mouth can greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu.
What to do if you catch the flu:
1. Contact your doctor
Call your physician to get professional input on your condition. Anti-viral agents may help some people, but Duncan said that decision should be made by your doctor.
2. Stay home
If you’re well enough to stay home, Weston recommends it. It will help prevent spreading the flu to others and allow you time to recover.
“If you are sick we want to encourage people to encourage people to consider staying home and letting your fever pass,” Bebinger said. “Energy needs to be expended on healing and overdoing things usually makes the illness worse. So, it pays off in the short- and long-term to go home and rest.”
3. Take your medications
Weston said anti-inflammatory medications and pain killers can be helpful in dealing with symptoms of the flu.
4. Stay hydrated
Anytime you are sick, it’s important to stay hydrated. Bebinger said when sick, people often fall behind on their fluid intake. He said people should be urinating at least four times a day.
5. Be aware of more severe symptoms
The flu can lead to more serious conditions, like bacterial pneumonia and heart attacks, according to Duncan. Shortness of breath and a serious inability to even get out of bed are signs to reach out to your doctor for professional medical attention.