About the Flu and Flu like Illnesses

Self-Care Tips and How to Stay Healthy Prevent the Flu and other Illnesses

What is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

How can I prevent getting the flu and flu-like illnesses?

  • Get vaccinated, preferably in October-November. The SHC offers Flu vaccines.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick: When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home when you are sick: 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.
  • Clean your hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • 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.

What else can I do to stay healthy?

  • Eat healthy: In general the better you eat, the healthier you are.  Good nutrition is about getting all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  • Get Sleep: People who don't get quality sleep or sleep too few hours each night are more likely to get sick.
  • Wash your hands regularly: Your hands are exposed to countless germs throughout the day.  When you don't wash your hands regularly and touch your face, lips, and food you can spread illness.  You can even reinfect yourself.  .
  • Manage your stress: This is a normal part of life and in small doses it can be healthy.  However, chronic stress can actually suppress your body's natural immune response, which can prolong healing, increase the frequency and severity of infections, and aggravate existing health problems.  For more information about stress.
  • Do some kind of physical activity: Find a routine that creates sweat and fits your style.  For more information about exercising for health.

How do I Treat the Flu?

Rest, hydration, and fever management are the basic treatments for otherwise healthy people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends antiviral medication for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza including people 65 years of age and older, children 12-23 months of age, people with chronic medical conditions (for example, heart or lung disease, diabetes), and pregnant women.