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Content on this page was developed during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic and has not been updated.

  • The H1N1 virus that caused that pandemic is now a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.
  • The English language content on this website is being archived for historic and reference purposes only.
  • For current, updated information on seasonal flu, including information about H1N1, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

Five Things You Can Do to Help Prevent the Spread of Flu

October 1, 2009 12:00 PM ET

This fall we’re not only facing seasonal flu, but also 2009 H1N1 flu. The Department of Health and Human Services is working together with the Departments of Homeland Security and Education to monitor the spread of the 2009 H1N1 flu and to prepare a voluntary fall vaccination program.

The most important steps to reduce the spread of the flu will take place in your homes, schools, and workplaces. Taking precautions for the 2009–2010 flu season is a responsibility we all share. Here are five basic steps to keep you and your family healthy and keep flu from spreading in your community. Visit to learn more.

  1. Get yourself and your family vaccinated against seasonal flu as recommended.  Flu vaccines are the most important step in preventing flu and its complications. Different vaccines will be available this year: one for seasonal flu and one for 2009 H1N1. If you or a family member is recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, the seasonal flu vaccine or both, get vaccinated when it becomes available. For more information about priority groups for 2009 H1N1 vaccination, visit For more information about seasonal flu vaccine, visit
  2. Make prevention a primary line of defense. Get in the habit of washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow or shoulder if a tissue is not available. Teach and remind your family to do the same. These steps are easy and work best if every member of the family participates.
  3. If you are sick, stay home from work and school. If you’re sick, stay home except to get medical care or other necessities until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.7 degrees Celsius) or have signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). Make sure your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, which are any medicines that contain ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you are concerned about your symptoms or are in a group at increased risk of severe illness, contact your health care provider. For more information on what to do if you get sick, visit
  4. Start planning now. Ask yourself these questions: If I am working and my child becomes sick, have I made arrangements for child care? Have I talked with my employer about what to do in case I need to be out sick or if I have to take care of a sick child or family member?
  5. Go to for the latest information on 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu. is a one-stop government-wide resource with planning tools to get a jump-start on the 2009–2010 flu season.


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