5 simple steps to protect against flu

Image for post
Image for post
©WHO/Harold Ruiz

The most common symptoms of influenza (flu) include fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, a sore throat and a runny nose.

Each year, millions of people come down with flu. Most recover within a week, but for an unlucky few, flu can be deadly.

Seasonal flu epidemics typically occur in late autumn and winter, so we can anticipate them, and prepare accordingly.

In tropical regions, influenza can occur throughout the year, causing outbreaks more irregularly, but prevention is still important.

Here’s how you can protect yourself, and those around you.

Annual vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against flu, and serious complications.

Vaccination is especially important for pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy.

It’s also crucial for children aged 6 months to 5 years, elderly people, those suffering with chronic medical conditions, and for health care workers.

Remember: a flu vaccine cannot give you flu. To feel achy or feverish after vaccination is a completely normal and natural reaction, and generally lasts only a day or two.

Clean hands protect against many infections, including flu. Keeping your hands clean is an easy way to keep yourself and your family healthy.

Wash your hands with soap and running water regularly and dry them thoroughly with a single-use towel. You can also use an alcohol-based handrub if you can’t get to soap and water.

Remember — washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Image for post
Image for post
©WHO/Harold Ruiz

Germs are most likely to enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth.

You can’t control everything you inhale, but you can reduce the risk of infection by keeping your hands away from your face.

If you do have to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, do it with a clean tissue, or wash your hands first.

Flu is contagious. It spreads easily in crowded spaces, such as on public transport, in schools and nursing homes and during public events.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets containing the virus can spread as far as one metre, and infect others who breathe them in.

If you’re ill with flu, being around others puts them at risk.

This is especially true for people with chronic medical conditions like cancer, heart disease and HIV.

Quickly isolating yourself can prevent the spread of flu and save lives.

World Health Organization

Official Medium site of the World Health Organization. Visit us at who.int.

World Health Organization

Written by

Official Medium channel of the World Health Organization, the United Nations' health agency

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.

World Health Organization

Written by

Official Medium channel of the World Health Organization, the United Nations' health agency

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store