How can I keep myself from getting a cold or the flu?

Remember that most cold and flu viruses are transferred from the fingertips to the eyes, nose or mouth where they can enter your body. Washing your hands frequently in soap and warm water is probably the most effective way to keep cold and flu viruses out of your body.

Try to avoid putting your fingers to your nose or eyes, especially if you have been around people with colds or the flu.

Avoid sharing objects (pencils, towels, telephones, etc.) or beverages with people who have colds or the flu.

Maintain healthy habits (such as adequate rest, good nutrition and daily exercise) that contribute to good general health and well-being.

The flu vaccine is recommended as a way to prevent the flu, especially for people who are at high risk for developing serious complications-such as the elderly and people with lung disease, heart disease, or another chronic illness.

The vaccine is also recommended for individuals who work in health care facilities and are exposed to respiratory illness repeatedly.

The flu shot contains a weakened version of the influenza virus and prepares your body to fight this year’s influenza virus only. If you have a flu shot, you will be partially or completely immune to the flu, but you will still have no protection against colds.

For more information on the influenza vaccine see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Key Facts About the Seasonal Flu Vaccine information page.