You too can avoid the flu!

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- It’s true. If you have the flu you can spread it to others up to six feet away.

The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus and its spread mainly through microscopic droplets created when people cough, sneeze or speak.

It can also be spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it.

How's this year's flu season?

Utah currently has widespread Influenza activity and the majority of those hospitalized have not been immunized with a flu vaccine. However, it’s not too late, because seasonal flu shots are available until the end of June.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is at risk, but at high risk are the elderly, young children, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and immunocompromised individuals.

Even healthy people not experiencing symptoms can spread the flu.

Those infected with the flu may be able to infect another person one day before showing any signs or symptoms and up to seven days after becoming sick.

What are flu symptoms?

• Sore throat
• Cough
• Fever
• Body aches
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea

It’s also important to know how to avoid catching the flu and spreading it to others.

What are flu preventive measures?

• Get an annual flu vaccine
• Avoid contact with sick people;
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
• Keep your distance from those who are infected
• Avoid touching your face
• Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer
• When sick, stay home for at least 24 hours and avoid spreading the virus to others•

However, if you are experiencing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever and rash, bluish skin color, confusion, dizziness, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, or severe vomiting, you should seek medical attention.

For more information on flu prevention, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu.