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Tips on Avoiding the Flu

Flu season has been particularly severe this year. Here are some tips from Saint Peter's University Hospital on how to prevent getting sick.

With the Northeast and much of the country experiencing the worst outbreak of flu in recent years, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System offers the following advice to avoid the flu and what to do if you or a family member falls ill.


Steps To Prevent The Flu:
- Avoid close contact:
When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too
- Stay home when you are sick:
You will help prevent others from catching your illness
- Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Use of an alcohol-based hand rub is also an effective way to protect against germs
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Our hands carry germs, which can enter our bodies if we touch our eyes, nose or mouth
- Practice other good health habits
Get plenty of sleep, by physically active, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food

Flu Symptoms Include:
- A fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Chills
- Fatigue
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children

When To Seek Emergency Medical Attention:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Seizures
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Flu Symptoms Can Be Treated With And Without Medication:
- Over-the-counter medications may relieve some flu symptoms but will not make someone less contagious
- Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medications to make your illness milder and prevent serious complications
- Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics if your flu has progressed to a bacterial infection

Treatment Of Symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
- Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
- Put a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
- Gargle with salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
- Cover up with a warm blanket to calm chills

Places To Get Help In Central New Jersey:
Anyone with minor flu symptoms should consult with their primary care physician or, in central New Jersey, they may visit:

  • Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center at Skillman, The Village Shoppes at Montgomery, 1378 Route 206, Suite 11, Skillman, (609) 497-4597
  • Comprehensive Care Group at Monroe, Clearbrook Commons Medical and Professional Office Park, 294 Applegarth Road, Monroe Township, (609) 409-1363
  • Comprehensive Care Group at Piscataway, 30 Wills Way, Piscataway, (732) 565-5432.

People with more serious symptoms should go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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Saint Peter's University Hospital

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