Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to getting a flu shot, several basic good health habits can help prevent the spread of flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Studies have shown that influenza viruses generally can survive on surfaces such as phones and doorknobs for between two and eight hours.
- If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, as well as certain other individuals, should not be vaccinated without first talking to their doctors.