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Influenza (the flu) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Anyone can get sick from the flu, but certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu, including:
- older people ,
- young children ,
- people with chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, neurologic conditions, and certain other long-term health conditions ,
- pregnant women
Take everyday measures to prevent the flu:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, but especially after coughing and sneezing. Alcohol-based hand gels can also be used.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. Germs can spread this way.
- Get vaccinated against the flu. This year's flu vaccine appears to be a good match to the circulating strains, and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Flu vaccine is available through health care providers and local pharmacies. To find a flu clinic, search your zip code on http://flushot.healthmap.org/ or http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ or search the listings on 211maine.org.
- Consult your health care provider about getting a pneumococcal vaccine for anyone who is younger than 5, between ages 5 and 64 with high risk conditions, or age 65 and older.
- Avoid contact with sick people. If you are at very high risk for complications, you may want to avoid large crowds.
If you have the flu:
- Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue. Throw the tissue away.
- Although most people can stay home to recover without seeing a health care provider, it is possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu. Anyone with the flu should seek medical attention for:
- Trouble breathing
- Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse
- Any major change in condition
- Contact your health care provider
- www.211maine.org or call 211
- Search your zip code on http://flushot.healthmap.org/ or http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
For more general information:
US CDC Flu information:
- Flu Basics
- Stopping the Spread of Germs - Stop the Spread of Germs Healthy habits at home, work, & school; Printable Materials, flyers & posters, Cover Your Cough, Germ Stopper Poster.
- Influenza Fact Sheet (Word | PDF)
- General prevention
- Cover Your Cough - also available for health care settings.
- Ounce of Prevention - Posters and brochures with general prevention messages
- CDC Free Flu Materials - This year’s seasonal flu materials are free for download—no printed versions are available. They may be printed on a standard office printer, or you may use a commercial printer. Emphasis remains on outreach to high-risk groups, as well as parents of all children, health care workers, and people in the workplace.
- Video: Why Don't We Do It In Our Sleeves? - Humorous video on the best method to cover coughs and sneezes