January 20, 2016

Basic hygiene really does help. So do these other strategies.


Step 1 in avoiding the flu is being vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get the vaccination. But during flu season (October into May, though the winter months are usually the peak), keep these additional prevention tips in mind at home and at work.

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, to prevent ingesting germs.

3. If you can, stay away from people with cold or flu-like symptoms. Don’t shake hands with them. (Try waving hello instead!)

4. Don’t share silverware, dishes, cups or drinking glasses with anyone.

5. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.

6. Clean everything you touch with a disinfectant cleaner. Keep these high-traffic surfaces in mind:

  • Countertops
  • Faucets in sinks, showers and bathtubs.
  • Doorknobs
  • TV remotes
  • Keyboards
  • Toys
  • Phones
  • Light switches

More resources

  • If you need medical attention, these Walk-In Clinics are staffed with board-certified Vanderbilt physicians as well as nurse practitioners. They take care of everything from flu, colds and coughs to fevers, rashes and injuries.
  • Vanderbilt Children’s After-Hours Clinics offer the convenience of a walk-in clinic with care provided by a board-certified pediatrician from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. No appointment is necessary, but we recommend calling your pediatrician first. You can go online to save your spot (like giving your name to a restaurant) before arriving. 
  • If you’re sick at home with the flu, you can receive Vanderbilt care without leaving your house, thanks to Vanderbilt Health OnCall. Within two hours, a Vanderbilt nurse practitioner will come treat you. Learn more about Vanderbilt Health OnCall and request a visit.
  • Understand complications of the flu for young children.