There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. The CDC recommends that when you wash your hands with soap and warm water that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on surfaces for between 2 and 8 hours.
- Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
If you get sick with influenza, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.