Healthy Tips for Flu Season

Flu season is here, and good health habits like avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like flu. We want to encourage students, parents, and staff to take every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. 

One of the biggest ways to stop the spread of germs is to stay home when sick. It’s important for students and staff to stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Until then, you should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings. Signs of a fever include chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating. 

The flu can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms usually come on suddenly, and people who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills. It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever. 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though that is more common in children than adults. 

Please visit the CDC website for more information on the flu, including emergency warning signs in children and in adults. The incubation period for the flu is 1 to 4 days. The contagious period lasts from the day before signs or symptoms appeared until at least 7 days after the onset of flu, although virus shedding can be longer in children and those with compromised immune systems. According to the CDC, the tips and resources below will help you learn about actions you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.

  • 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. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or with your bent arm. If you use a tissue, put the used tissue in a trash can and wash your hands. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. 
  • Clean your hands. Washing your hands and often will help protect you from germs. Students and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, dry hands with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand rub. 
    • When should you wash your hands?
      • Before, during, and after preparing food
      • Before eating food
      • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
      • Before and after treating a cut or wound
      • After using the restroom
      • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After touching an animal
      • After touching garbage
    • Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives provides tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 
    • It’s a Snap provides resources aimed at preventing school absenteeism by promoting clean hands. The program is presented by the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, a collaborative project of the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cleaning Institute. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can be 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. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.