Aches, sniffles and coughs are the warning signs of fall and the flu season.

The CDCR Office of Employee Wellness offers the following tips to help keep you healthy:

Why cover your cough?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza (flu) and other serious respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by coughing, sneezing or unclean hands.

To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • You may be asked to put on a facemask to protect others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/covercough.htm

Is the flu vaccine effective?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, how well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season.

The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated.

At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community.

While how well the flu vaccine works can vary, there are a lot of reasons to get a flu vaccine each year.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick from flu. Protecting yourself from flu also protects the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
  • Flu vaccination can help protect people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from flu, like older adults, people with chronic health conditions and young children (especially infants younger than 6 months old who are too young to get vaccinated).
  • Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations and deaths.

Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against infection and illness caused by the flu viruses research indicates will be most common during the flu season. “Trivalent” flu vaccines are formulated to protect against three flu viruses, and “quadrivalent” flu vaccines protect against four flu viruses.

Flu vaccines do NOT protect against infection and illness caused by other viruses that can also cause flu-like symptoms. There are many other viruses besides flu viruses that can result in flu-like illness which spread during the flu season.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

Want to avoid the flu? Here’s how.

According to Flu.gov, there are some simple ways to avoid the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy food.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Source: https://www.flu.gov/prevention-vaccination/prevention/

See the official Centers for Disease Control “Cover your Cough” poster here: cdc_cough

Here are some simple precautions (provided by Flu.gov):

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