The flu is a highly contagious virus that is easily spread through contact with respiratory droplets from infected individuals. Common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, a sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. People who have the flu are generally contagious about one day before first showing symptoms and for five to seven days after being sick, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Taking proper precautions and disinfecting your home can help prevent the spread of the flu to others.
Wash your hands frequently while and immediately after you have the flu. Proper hand washing is important in preventing the spread of the flu, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wash with soap and warm water frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Cover your mouth using a tissue, handkerchief or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Avoid using your hand to cover your mouth because that can contribute to the spread of germs.
Wipe down hard surfaces such as countertops, desks and tables with disinfecting cleaning sprays or disinfecting wipes. Be sure to clean all surfaces you came into contact with while you were sick.
Clean objects and other surfaces you touched while sick using disinfecting wipes. Include items such as door handles, toilet handles, faucet handles and remote controls.
Launder all the clothes you wore and bedding you used in hot water and dry in the dryer after your flu illness.
Prevent getting the flu in the first place by getting a flu vaccine, the CDC recommends. Vaccines are available for both the seasonal flu and H1N1. While everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine, it is particularly important for people at high risk of complications from the flu, including infants, young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
When you have the flu, it’s best to stay home from work or school to allow yourself to recover and prevent the spread of the virus. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after having a fever of 100 degrees F.
Avoid close contact with people when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you have the flu, try not to touch your eyes, mouth or nose because this can contribute to the spread of germs.