Influenza (Flu) in Arizona
Information for Home, Family & Work
Whether at home or in the workplace, there are several things individuals, families, and employers can do to control the spread of flu and other illnesses.
The single most effective way to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated against flu every year. Annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older.
In addition, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent flu and other illnesses in yourself and your family, and to decrease the chances of spreading them to someone else if you do get sick:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the toilet. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Use disposable tissues and throw them away after use.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick. Anyone who has flu or a flu-like illness should stay home from school, work, or other activities until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone away without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
To wash your hands well, follow these steps:
- Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Influenza can affect people of all ages, but can be more severe in children under five years old, and especially those less than two years old. Each year an average of 20,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 5 years are hospitalized because of flu complications.
A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children six months of age and older.
Children with certain chronic health problems are at greater risk for flu complications than other children of the same age. These health problems include:
- Asthma or other lung diseases
- Immune suppression
- Neuromuscular disorders
- And others. See CDC Children and the Flu Information.
Children, their family members, and their caregivers should get the flu vaccine every year as soon as it becomes available in order to make sure that the vaccine has time to take effect before flu season starts.
Children 8 years old and younger who did not receive a flu vaccine in the 2010-2011 flu season will need to receive two doses of the 2011-2012 vaccine to ensure protection. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
There is no flu vaccine available for children less than six months old, and these infants are at higher risk for flu complications than any other age group of children. Therefore, it is especially important that parents, other household members, and all caregivers of young infants are vaccinated.
While the single best way to prevent flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine, businesses and employers can do several things to encourage good health habits to prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses in the workplace.
- Encourage employees to stay home when sick. Anyone who has flu or a flu-like illness should stay home until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone away without the use of fever-reducing medications. Employers can review absenteeism policies that may encourage people to come to work when ill, and consider strategies like teleworking that may allow employees to get work done without spreading flu or other respiratory illnesses to others.
- Promote good hand-washing techniques. Everyone should wash hands often with soap and water, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the toilet. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available.
- Promote good cough etiquette. Everyone should cough or sneeze into a tissue or sleeve, rather than their hands, and throw away disposable tissues after use.
- Promote flu vaccination by hosting a vaccine clinic or finding other ways to make it easy for employees and their families to get a flu shot.
- Make hand sanitizer and other supplies available to employees and clients. Hand sanitizers, tissues, and trash receptacles that are maintained and placed throughout the workplace can help promote a healthy environment.
CDC has many resources available to assist businesses and employers with promoting a healthy workplace during flu season, such as flu prevention flyers, posters, and other materials. Specific resources are available for people that work in the following fields:
Additionally, employers should have plans in place in the event of a flu pandemic, or even a severe flu season, when many employees may be absent because they are ill or need to care for ill family members. The federal government has many resources available to help businesses develop plans for a pandemic.