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Flu Widespread Across U.S. - Tips to Avoid Getting Sick At Football Parties

The big game is set for February 4 and people everywhere will be gathering at parties to watch it. With cases of influenza at epidemic levels across the country, the American Red Cross has steps people can take to avoid getting sick if their plans include watching the big game at a party.

If someone has the flu, they can infect others a day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after they become ill. People with the flu can spread the illness to others as far as six feet away by droplets spread when coughing, sneezing or talking or left on a surface.

So one of the most important things you can do is stay home if you are ill or someone in your household is sick. While it’s hard to miss the party, people should act responsibly and stay home to avoid spreading illness.

WASH YOUR HANDS One of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands properly, especially after using the bathroom or when preparing food. For visibly soiled hands, first wash with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:

  • Wash with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.
  • If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
  • Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
  • Continue to rub until the product dries.

    Other steps to avoid getting sick include:

  • Hosts should use plastic cups or provide a way for people to identify their drinks. People shouldn’t let anyone else drink out of their glass.
  • Give every dish a utensil for serving, including those snack dishes like nuts, pretzels, etc. This allows people to spoon out their portion instead of reaching in with their hands.
  • Do not share food. Avoid anything that involves sticking your hands into a bowlful of food.
  • Hosts should also make sure there is plenty of soap in the bathroom. Instead of the usual pretty hand towel, this year use disposable hand towels or a roll of paper towels.
  • If you plan to host a party and someone in your household becomes ill, move your event to a different location.
  • When greeting friends and family, avoid the usual kisses and handshakes.
  • Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for additional tips and instant access to guidance on what to do for a variety of first aid emergencies.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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