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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.

Action Steps to Protect You and Your Family from the Flu

November 6, 2009, 2:00 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends four main ways you and your family may keep from getting the flu this season:

  • Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu (if recommended).  For more information on the recommendations for who should receive seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccines.
  • People sick with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius measured by mouth) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the need for fever-reducing medicine. Keeping sick people at home means that they keep their viruses to themselves rather than sharing them with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw it away in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Teach your children how to do this.
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. Parents and child care providers should wash the hands of children who cannot yet wash themselves and closely monitor children who have not yet mastered proper hand washing.

Follow these steps to prepare for the flu during the 2009-2010 flu season:

  • Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick, your usual early childhood program closes, or school is dismissed. Check with your employer to find out if you can stay at home to care for your children, work from home, or set up a flexible work schedule. If this is not possible, find other ways to care for your children at home (such as care by relatives, neighbors, co-workers, or friends).
  • Plan to monitor the health of your family by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu.
  • Identify people who are at higher risk for serious disease from the flu and urge them to talk to their healthcare provider about a plan to protect them during the flu season. People at higher risk of serious disease from the flu include: pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, people 65 years of age and older, and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes).
  • Update emergency contact lists.
  • Collect games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained if early childhood programs are closed, school is dismissed, or your child is sick and must stay home.
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