Red Cross releases tips to avoid the flu

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[January 10, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- Widespread flu activity is being reported across much of the country, and the American Red Cross urges people who have not yet gotten a flu vaccine to get vaccinated now.

The Red Cross also has steps people can take to prevent the spread of the flu virus during what the Centers for Disease Control says is the worst influenza outbreak in several years in the United States.

For most people, the flu makes them feel very sick, but they generally get better in about a week. However, young children, people over age 65, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions may develop serious complications from the flu, including dehydration, pneumonia and worsening of medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or asthma.

The American Red Cross has a few tips to help you stay healthy this winter:

  • Get your flu shot as soon as it is available for the best chance of protection. A flu vaccine is available in the U.S. every year.

  • Always practice good health habits to maintain your body's resistance to infection.

    • Eat a balanced diet.

    • Drink plenty of fluids.

    • Exercise daily.

    • Manage stress.

    • Get enough rest and sleep.

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  • Take common-sense steps to stop the spread of germs:

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

    • Avoid or minimize contact with sick people (a minimum of three feet distancing is recommended).

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

    • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough and sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

    • Stay away from others as much as possible when you are sick.

    • Adopt business and school practices that encourage employees and students to stay home when sick.

For more information about flu prevention, visit

[Text from file received from American Red Cross, Illinois Capital Area Chapter]

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