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Tips to prevent infection and stay healthy Answers to your questions about the flu
What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?
Tips to avoid infection and stay healthy
The symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore
throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people with this virus have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.
• Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, such as:
How does the flu virus spread?
Flu viruses spread person-to-person when people who have
the flu cough or sneeze. You can also be infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching your
- After you get off a plane, train or bus
• When using a public restroom, use a paper towel to open
Are there medicines to treat infection with the flu?
• Use antibacterial hand cleaners if you are not able to wash
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends
the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for the
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth
treatment of infection with the flu virus. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against the flu by keeping
flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick,
Flu germs spread through the air. Here is what you can do
antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel
better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough
When should you call your doctor about your flu?
or sneeze; throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
Call a doctor if you have severe illness or are at high risk
• Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze
for flu complications due to any of these conditions:
• Try not to have contact with other people
• Weakened immune system• Kidney disease• Heart disease (except high blood pressure)• Liver disorder• Neurologic and neuromuscular disorders• Pregnancy
Remember: Young children are at greater risk for complications from the flu. If you can’t get to your doctor or don’t have one, find an urgent care center.
Hand hygiene has frequently been cited as the single most
Germs can also be transmitted from contaminated hard
important practice to reduce the transmission of infectious
surfaces at work. The influenza virus is viable for up to two
agents. The term “hand hygiene” includes both hand
days on work surfaces including telephones, computers,
washing with antimicrobial soap and water and the use of
keyboards and doorknobs. Therefore, it is critical that
alcohol-based products (gels, rinses, foams) containing an
employees take steps to keep their work areas clean. Use a
emollient that does not require the use of water.
disinfectant cleaning wipe to clean your workspace. Pay
How to wash your hands with soap and water:
special attention to the following surfaces:
• If you are in a public restroom, use a paper towel to turn
• Wet your hands first with water. Avoid hot water because
• Telephones (dial buttons and receivers)
water that is too hot may prevent you from washing for
• Objects that are frequently handled by yourself and others,
the appropriate amount of time to kill germs.
such as staplers, copiers, doorknobs, etc.
• Apply a quarter size dollop of soap.
• Perform hand hygiene after cleaning your workspace
• Rub hands together for 15 seconds, about the time it takes
to sing “Yankee Doodle” once through or “Happy Birthday”
Social distancing refers to methods to reduce the frequency
• Cover all surfaces of the hands and fingers.
and closeness of contact between people. Generally, social
• Rinse hands with water and towel dry.
distancing refers to mass gatherings of people, but the same methods can be applied to the workplace.
Wash your hands with plain soap and water or with an antimicrobial soap and water in the following circumstances:
• Your hands are visibly soiled (dirty)
• When around people who are coughing or sneezing,
• Your hands are visibly contaminated with respiratory
keep your distance by at least three feet
• Avoid meeting people face-to-face; instead use the
• Before and after food preparation and eating
• Avoid any unnecessary travel• Avoid hand shaking and other close contact (such as hugs,
• Apply a nickel size dollop of alcohol rub or gel to the palm
• Avoid crowded places (large meetings, cafeterias,
• Cover all surfaces of hands and fingers, including areas
• Continue rubbing hands together until alcohol dries, about
• In the absence of visible soiling of the hands, approved
alcohol-based products for hand disinfection are preferred over antimicrobial soap or plain soap and water because of their superior microbiocidal activity, reduced drying of the skin and convenience. You can even use alcohol-based hand rub products right at your desk.
Special thanks to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hand Hygiene Resource
Center, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of subsidiary companies,
including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).
This material is for information only. Content is general health information and is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a
physician or other health care professional. Please confer with your physician before making a decision. Information is believed to
be accurate as of the production date; however, it is subject to change.
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