High fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache and body aches. Getting the flu is no fun. This contagious respiratory infection affects your whole body — including your nose, throat and lungs. Many people say it feels like being hit by a truck. And, for those with asthma or other lung diseases particularly those over the age of 65, the flu could lead to more serious complications.
There are easy ways to reduce your risk for getting and spreading the flu. Follow these four tips:
Get a flu shot.
The best way to prevent influenza is the flu vaccine. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every year. The best time to go is soon after the vaccine becomes available in the fall.
Wash your hands. The most common way to catch the flu is to touch your own eyes, nose or mouth with germy hands. So keep your hands clean and away from your face.
Get prompt medical attention if you develop flu symptoms.
If you do get sick, it is important for you to call your doctor as soon as possible to receive prompt treatment with antivirals — especially if you are at high risk for complications. Antivirals can be effective in reducing the severity of flu and the duration of the disease.
Keep your distance when you are sick or if you are around someone else who is sick.
Help prevent other people from catching your flu. Stay home from work, school and public places when you are sick. Keep in mind: you can still spread germs up to seven days after getting sick!