What is the flu?
The flu is a transmittable viral illness that occurs commonly in
the winter months. It is spread from person-to-person from the
large droplets sprayed from the mouth and nose when a person coughs
or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching something with the
flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose. The flu can
be very serious for certain groups of people, including: the very
young, older adults, pregnant women, and people with underlying
health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, weakened immune
systems, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, certain
mental disorders, and blood disorders).
Ways to Stay Healthy at Work
How can I prevent the spread of the flu?
- Obtain a seasonal flu vaccine and the new H1N1 vaccine when
- Wash your hands often and for 15 to 20 seconds at a time. Use
soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid close contact with anyone you know is sick. If
face-to-face contact with an infected individual is necessary, they
should wear a face mask (N95 respirators are a good option).
- Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or
sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash afterwards. Also, cough or
sneeze into your sleeve if a tissue is not available. Make sure to
wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home!
- Follow public health advice about closures and travel.
Flu-Like Signs and Symptoms
- Fever (>100°F)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common with H1N1 than seasonal
What should I do if I get sick?
Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever resolves
(without taking anti-fever medications). A fever is defined as a
temperature above 100°F. If possible, stay in a room separate from
all common areas of the house, keep the door closed, and use a
When should I seek help?
It is not always necessary to seek medical attention if you are
sick with the flu. If your illness is severe or you are at high
risk for complications (children younger than 5, pregnant women,
and people with chronic medical conditions including diabetes,
heart disease, asthma, and kidney disease), contact your health
care provider immediately. If you experience any of the following
symptoms, seek medical attention: shortness of breath, pain in your
chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe vomiting, or
flu-like symptoms that improve but return with fever and/or
What can I do to treat the symptoms of the flu?
- Rest until symptoms have resolved
- Drink plenty of fluids so that you do not become
- Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen,
and aspirin can be used to relieve fever, headache, and muscle
How long am I contagious?
You can spread the virus from 1 day before symptoms and up to 7
days after you become sick. Children and people with weakened
immune systems may spread the virus for longer.
Where can I look for more information?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | 1-800-CDC-INFO
The World Health Organization | http://www.who.int/en/
Indiana State Department of Health | http://www.in.gov/isdh/