Protecting Yourself from the Flu

How can I protect myself from the flu?
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall. There are 2 types of vaccines:
  • The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”). LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 5 years to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against influenza-like illnesses caused by other viruses.

Respiratory Etiquette
People not in a high-risk group can still protect themselves from the flu. Following respiratory etiquette can stop the spread of germs and help protect you from getting sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water (wash for 20 seconds). Air dry or use paper towel in public places.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze, use a tissue and throw it away immediately.
  • If you are ill, stay home.
  • Keep your distance from others if you are sick.