FLU INFORMATION: Red Cross Issues Top Five Flu Prevention Steps

January 16, 2014 15:00 pm · 22 comments

Flu season is here and more and more people are getting sick. In the Greater Bay Area, there have been over a dozen deaths attributed to the flu so far. The flu season tends to peak in February. Therefore, the American Red Cross urges people to get vaccinated now and offers tips everyone can follow to help prevent the spread of the flu.

The following information is from the American Red Cross:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report for the week of December 29th to January 4th shows 35 states are seeing widespread flu activity, up from 25 a week earlier. Most other regions are also reporting a number of residents sick with influenza.

The most important step someone can take is to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. Other steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu virus:

  1. Stay home if sick.
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  3. Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If that’s not possible, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands. People with the flu can spread it to others about six feet away through coughs and sneezes.
  4. Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
  5. Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

“If someone has the flu they should avoid contact with others as much as possible,” said Mark Cloutier, American Red Cross Regional CEO. “Everyone should also disinfect surfaces used commonly such as door knobs, switches, phones, computers and remote controls.”

DO I HAVE THE FLU? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children).

If someone thinks they have the flu, their health-care provider should be consulted. Someone should seek medical care immediately if they develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Children – not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting. Fever with a rash. No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

More information about influenza and how to help stop the spread of the flu virus is available on www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/flu

cough or sneeze into the elbow, January 16, 2014 at 1:28 PM

anything is better than not covering at all.

Clayton Squirrel January 16, 2014 at 3:08 PM

So happy that I got the college boy the flu shot before he fllew back to school today. One good thing that I did. Made big girl stop at the pediatrician on the way home 10 days ago and get one too. She just beat the rush and the rationing to just kids under two until the office gets more vaccine.

Arc January 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

If I got my flu shot in October, is that the same one being given now or do I need to go get the most current one?

It'sJustMe January 16, 2014 at 4:12 PM

All 5 excellent advice. I am considering getting a shot this year. Like tomorrow.

The Observer January 16, 2014 at 4:16 PM

“If I got my flu shot in October, is that the same one being given now or do I need to go get the most current one?”

My wife and I got our flu shots in early September. The new formulation for the 2013-2014 season had just become available. You’re good until next fall.

Sacto Rob January 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM

@#3 Arc- Sounds like you’re good for the season. And good for you getting a flu shot.

Shirley Wilson January 16, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Is there a place for getting flu shots without cost? I know several people who don’t have coverage and can’t afford the shot on their own. I got mine last October, glad because this is a seriious flu.

JWB January 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

The one in October 2013 is the same one you can get now it is the Northern Hemisphere 2013/14 one.

The Observer January 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

“Is there a place for getting flu shots without cost? I know several people who don’t have coverage and can’t afford the shot on their own.”

The County operates Public Health Immunization Clinics for people in your friends’ situation. Check the web page below.


Cici January 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Shirley, Here is a link for the Contra Costa Health Services immunization clinics. It says they have free and reduced cost flu shots. It lists a $15 fee for a flu shot, but says it is waivable.


People with insurance can get a flu shot from their healthcare provider with no co-pay, thanks to Obamacare.

Justin January 16, 2014 at 5:51 PM

I learned tips 1-5 as a kid, but thanks for reminding me.

bluebird January 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM

I would move #4 up to #2 spot. Wash your hands often and avoid touching someone else. Also you need to wipe down the remotes, hand held gaming devices, light switches and door handles with disinfectant around the house. If you have to share a desk and phone at work, keep disinfectant wipes handy and wipe those down as well as the keyboard and mouse on your computers. And stay home if you are sick! No job is so important that you can’t stay home to get better.

Claire January 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM

My husband wipes everything with Clorox wipes. Phones, door handles, microwave and refrigerator handles, door handles on our cars, grocery carts (if at a store that has them).

He doesn’t do it daily, but often enough. He hasn’t gotten a cold in 12-15 years, and he hasn’t had the flu since I met him, which is over 20 years ago.

He wipes away germs. Not much you can do about germs in the air except avoid people you know are sick.

Meth Monsters January 16, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Meth cures all that ale’s you

Outbreak Monkey January 16, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Really? I mean…REALLY?! Are there actually people, over the age of 7, who HAVEN’T learned these “preventative” steps yet??? If so, I say let natural selection take it’s course!


“Uh-oh, there’s liquidy stuff coming outta my nose and my throat makes a sudden noise every few minutes! I wonder what’s wrong with me?”

“I’m sooo sick, but I can’t skip the gym and I’m not gonna flake on my movie date tonight”

“Wow, look at all these used tissues on my desk. Maybe I should start a collection or give them as gifts. Oh look! My co-worker’s tissue is on the ground and it’s only half-used; I’ll use the other half because I’m eco-friendly!”


Miguel January 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Washing my hands often and staying away from people who are sick works for me. Hardly ever get sick.

I wish people would stay home from work when sick, but I understand why they come. They need the money, and don’t want to get fired for too much time off the clock.

Public Health Nurse January 16, 2014 at 9:13 PM

The flu vaccine being administered now is the same that was being given in October 2013. Contra Costa Health Services has immunization clinics at various locations. The link in the posts above will give locations and times. These are drop in clinics – first come, first serve. The clinics have extra staff to accommodate those coming in just for flu shots. The fee is waivable. There is no shortage of vaccine.

Stay healthy. Stay well. Get your flu shot.

Flu shots aren't 100% effective, BUT they're better than the alternative January 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM

even if, as some posters claim, you haven’t had the flu or a cold in umpteen years. There’s always a first time, and it might not be a happy time for you, or the others with whom you come into contact, including your family. GET YOUR FLU SHOT and rest easier. And we will too.

Clean your phones.... January 17, 2014 at 12:27 AM

especially in offices where there are multiple users. This is standard practice in Europe.

Naenae January 17, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Oscillococcinum is a great homeopathic remedy for the flu. Been ten years of using it. It is now more easily found at local drug and grocery stores. It’s not particularly affordable but works well. Use it at first arrival of flu symptoms. Instead of being in bed for a week it helped cut the time to 3 days.

Anon January 17, 2014 at 7:22 PM

You know you live in a prime area when the advice includes “wash your hands”.

VikingPrincess January 17, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Seen primarily as bathroom signs in restaurants and gas stations

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