Action Steps to Prevent the Spread of the Flu
W&L Student Health Center and the CDC recommends the following Respiratory Etiquette to help you avoid the flu:
Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Make sure that shared surfaces that have frequent hand contact (like keyboards, desks, door knobs, faucets, etc.) are cleaned before you touch them. Consider carrying your own supply of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as this spreads germs from surfaces you may have touched. Do not share cups, food/drink, or eating utensils.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately in a trash can and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
Avoid contact with others who are sick--try to stay at least 3 feet away from someone who is coughing or sneezing, or 6 feet away from someone who is known to have influenza. The virus is also commonly spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Commonly used shared surfaces (such as door knobs, key boards, desks, faucet handles, counters, etc.) should be cleaned frequently with standard cleaning agents or with disposable wipes prior to each use.
The CDC recommends that everyone, ages 6 months and up, get vaccinated against influenza every year. Anyone who wants to reduce their chance of getting the seasonal flu is encouraged to get vaccinated. It is especially important that certain people at higher risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those people get vaccinated each year. Those at higher risk are:
- Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday.
- Pregnant women.
- People 50 years of age and older.
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc.).
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who live with or care for those at higher risk for complications from flu, including:
- Healthcare workers.
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu.
- Household contacts and caregivers of children less than 6 months of age.