Know the basics of flu prevention

Because of the flu vaccine shortage, it is even more important this year to emphasize with patients the basic of good health habits that can help prevent the spread of flu. "The most important things the individuals in the community can do are the ones everyone’s grandmother told them to do," says Keri K. Hall, MD, assistant professor in the department of internal medicine, division of infectious diseases, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Here are some of the points that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says the public should know:

  • Avoid close contact. 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. 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often are spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.