The primary way that illnesses such as the flu are spread from person to person is through contact with the respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes. These droplets can move through the air from an infected person and land on the nose or mouth of someone nearby. Germs can also be spread when a person touches a respiratory droplet that has been deposited on a surface such as a countertop, and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands. It is proven that some viruses can live up to two hours on surfaces such as cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Everyone can prevent the spread of germs through proper personal health care practices.
Keeping Yourself and Others Well
- The single best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated each year. October and November are the best times to get vaccinated as the flu season can begin as early as October and last until May.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Please review the following instructional sheet to learn the best way to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze: Cover your cough.
- Clean your hands often. It is highly recommended that you wash your hands for at least 15-20 seconds with soap and warm water.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick. If you become sick, keep your distance from others so that they do not become sick too.
- If possible, stay home from class, work, and errands when you are sick until you are completely free of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications. This will prevent others from getting sick and will help you get healthy faster.
- Practice other good health habits such as getting proper sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of water, and eating nutritious food.
- Help spread the word about healthy habits to stop the spread of germs. Remind others of the importance of personal prevention practices such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and thoroughly washing your hands.