Good Health Habits for Preventing the Flu

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits and antiviral medications are other measures that can help protect against the flu.

  • Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

  • Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. pdf

  • Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and not your hands. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. pdf

  • Clean your hands

We recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That's about the same time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice!

Alcohol-Based Hand Wipes and Gel Sanitizers Work Too

When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. 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.*

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Practice other good health habits

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. pdf