Here’s what to do if you get sick with the flu

No one wants to get the flu. The contagious respiratory illness can range from being mild to severe and can cause you to miss work or school. It also can lead to hospitalization — or even death.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

In the unfortunate event that you get sick with flu symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider.

The CDC recommends you follow these steps if you get sick:

Take Antivirals Drugs, if prescribed by a doctor. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter. They can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with the flu (for example, people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with the flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications, either because of their age or because they have a high risk medical condition.

 Take everyday precautions to protect others.

  • Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Call in sick from work and stay at home from school if you must; your coworkers and classmates will be thankful.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Stay home until you are better.

  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. When you return to work or school you should no longer need medicine to reduce your fever.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information for people who are sick.

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