Flu Safety: Red Cross Has Steps to Follow as Influenza Spreads Across U.S.
Flu is widespread across the entire country and the Centers for Disease Control reports influenza activity is likely to remain high for several weeks. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to help prevent the spread of the flu.
SITUATION UPDATE The number of people seeing their doctor for flu-like illness is currently the highest since the pandemic in 2009. The CDC continues to recommend a flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. It’s also important to be treated promptly with antiviral medications if you are severely ill or at high risk for serious flu complications.
Flu vaccine is the best available way to protect against influenza. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an injectable flu vaccine as soon as possible. More information, including flu safety checklists in several languages, is available at the flu safety link above. To help stop the spread of influenza:
DO I HAVE THE FLU? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children). If you think you have the flu, call your health care provider. Seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:
CARING FOR SOMEONE WITH THE FLU If someone in your household does come down with the flu, the Red Cross wants you to know the best way to care for them:
THE FLU AND GIVING BLOOD The Red Cross urges healthy blood and platelet donors to schedule donation appointments during the difficult winter season.
Individuals who are not feeling well on the day of donation will be deferred from giving blood. Those who have the flu should wait until they no longer have flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation.
You can give blood after receiving the influenza vaccine if you are symptom-free and meet all other eligibility requirements. Neither the flu shot nor the intranasal vaccine is cause for a blood donation deferral, because there is no risk of transmitting influenza after receiving the vaccines.
DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP The Red Cross First Aid app includes safety tips on influenza. Download the free app from the app store for your mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.