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General Prevention Tips

To stay healthy and to prevent the spread of illness, take these important preventive actions every day, including:

Prevention at home

To stay healthy at home use these everyday prevention tips:

  • Make sure everyone in the household cleans their hands often, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Regularly clean and sanitize areas throughout the household that are often touched or used often by others (i.e., door handles, countertops, light switches, faucets, etc.)
  • Vaccinating young children is a top priority, as they are at higher risk for experiencing complications from the flu. If you are a primary caregiver of an infant younger than 6 months, get vaccinated
  • If someone in your household gets the flu, keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible, especially others who are at high risk of complications from influenza
  • If you are a parent or guardian for school-age children, plan now for when your child(ren) may need to stay home sick from school

Prevention at work - for employees

To stay healthy and to prevent the spread of illness, take everyday prevention actions, including:

  • Wash hands often, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Regularly clean and sanitize areas throughout the workplace that are often touched or used often by others (i.e., door handles, conference tables, light switches, etc.)
  • If you are feeling ill, stay home from work and avoid contact with others. Stay home from work until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the assistance of fever-reducing medications
  • Encourage your colleagues to stay home from work if they are feeling ill
  • Regularly clean and disinfect your workspace (i.e., your phone, keyboard, etc.)
  • Speak with your employer now to develop an action plan in case you or a colleague get the flu, including modified work schedules, flexible hours, and working from home

Visit the CDC's influenza website for more prevention tips.

Prevention at work - for employers

To prevent the spread of illness in your workplace and to ensure your employees are protected, consider implementing these prevention guidelines in your business:

  • Allow sick workers to stay home. Ensure sick leave policies are flexible. Do not require sick notes for absences or as a condition for returning to work - this could clog the health care system
  • Sick employees at work should be asked to go home. Be familiar with symptoms. Promptly separate sick workers from other workers until they can go home. Inform other employees of possible exposure (but the employee's identity should remain confidential, as required by law)
  • Improve hand hygiene. Instruct employees to wash hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Provide soap and hand sanitizer stations
  • Clean common surfaces frequently, including workstations, countertops and doorknobs. Routine cleaning is sufficient
  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated for seasonal flu. Review health benefits to ensure vaccinations are covered by your policy. Consider granting leave time for employees to get vaccinated. Visit the CDC's influenza website for more workplace prevention tips.

Prevention at school/childcare centers

The best things you can do to prevent the spread of illness include:

  • Keep your child home from school when he or she feels sick
  • Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines
  • Keep children home even if they are using antiviral drugs

Other tips for prevention at schools and childcare centers include:

  • Separate ill students and staff. Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home
  • Regular cleaning and sanitization: School and childcare center staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the standard, daily use cleaners
  • Early treatment of high-risk staff and students: People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like symptoms should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible to determine if they need to be seen
  • Personal prevention behaviors should also be used regularly by all staff and students, including covering your cough or sneeze, washing your hands with soap and water frequently, and avoiding close contact with sick people

Visit the CDC's site for more information on prevention in schools and in childcare.