The flu season occurs during the fall and winter. During these months, taking the appropriate precautions to keep yourself and your family members or roommates from getting sick is important. However, despite all the preventive measures you may take, someone in your household may get the flu. Once you know someone is sick, it’s essential to care for them and ensure you and everyone else stay healthy.
The flu, also known as influenza or seasonal flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness, according to the American Lung Association.
The illness spreads when a sick person coughs, sneezes or breathes out infected droplets and someone else breathes them in. The flu arises from one of three strains: A, B and C, but the most severe illnesses are due to strains A and B. The flu droplets may also be found on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel and are transferred through the eyes, nose or mouth.
About 5% to 20% of people in the United States get the flu annually. The severity of the flu varies with each person, with some having mild forms of the illness and others having severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization or death.
The flu affects your nose, throat and lungs and causes symptoms such as a high fever and muscle aches.
Other signs and symptoms of the flu include the following, according to KidsHealth:
If you get the flu, you may notice symptoms one to four days after exposure. Most people have a mild flu and won’t need medical attention. Most people who rest at home can get better within a week.
However, if the illness becomes severe, it may lead to complications such as pneumonia, ear or sinus infections, dehydration and the worsening of chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes or congestive heart failure.
Certain people are more likely to deal with severe complications of the flu, such as:
You can reduce your chances of getting the flu from your household member by taking the proper precautions to protect yourself and others in the home.
Here are some tips for preventing the flu, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
Keep surfaces germ-free in your home with disinfectant wipes. This 35-count of wipes gets rid of 99.9% of germs, including influenza A. They have a fresh scent, are bleach-free and can be a great household cleaner.
Hand sanitizer is a great backup for keeping your hands clean when hand soap is unavailable. This 1-liter of hand sanitizer gel eliminates 99.99% of germs on your hands. It has a clean scent and evaporates quickly. It is free of triclosan, parabens, phthalates and preservatives.
Tissues can catch germs before they spread in the air. This pack contains 10 cube-sized boxes of non-lotion tissues. They are gentle on your skin and are small enough to be placed anywhere in your home. They also don’t contain perfumes or lotions.
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Taneia Surles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.