Smart-Take: Beating the Flu

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the most important step in protecting against the flu virus. The annual vaccination targets three or four viruses that research suggests will be the most common; it can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and flu-related hospitalizations—or worse.

Vaccination is especially important for high-risk persons—including young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, as well as people who work with at-risk populations.

In addition to getting a timely flu vaccination, there are a number of other measures that can help you reduce the incidence, severity, and duration of the flu. Below are a few. For more information, visit

Prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid or minimize close contact with sick people
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects including things like doorknobs, light switches, and the tv remote.

If you do get sick:

  • Stay home and rest
  • Hydrate frequently with clear liquids, and avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Ask your doctor about antiviral treatments
  • Treat symptoms—safely.

Get help immediately when you see these emergency symptoms:

In children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough Additional symptoms in infants:
  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal