February – Peak Month for Flu Season
The flu bugs are still lurking all around us in February! That’s why it is important to remain vigilant in your habits to avoid the flu and stop the spread of the flu virus. Here is some valuable information about the flu season from the Center for Disease Control.
Key Facts About Influenza (Flu)
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Additionally, anyone can get the flu and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age. But some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes
- people 65 years and older,
- people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease),
- pregnant women, and
- young children.
Stopping the Spread of the Flu
Equally important is knowing how to avoid catching the flu and how not to spread the flu virus. One of the most important things you can do to avoid catching the flu is wash your hands frequently. You can catch the flu by touching a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or your nose.
“People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.”
To avoid the flu,
- People should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick.
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
- Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
- Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
For How Long Is the Flu Contagious?
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days.
Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. In other words, you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.
Stay flu free in February!