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Caring for Someone with the Flu

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Take these additional steps to protect yourself and people in your home from getting the flu.

You and all healthy people in the house should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently, including after every contact with the sick person, the sick person’s room or bathroom, or items used or touched by the sick person.

Remind the sick person to cover coughs and clean his or her hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person and, if possible, have only one adult in the home take care of the sick person. People at increased risk of severe illness from flu should not care for the sick person.

Hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.

Ask your healthcare provider if well people in your home—particularly those contacts who are at increased risk of severe illness—should take antiviral medications to prevent getting the flu.

Maintain good ventilation in shared household areas (keep windows open in restrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc.).

Follow proper cleaning and disposal procedures:

Throw the sick person’s tissues and other used disposable items in the trash.

Keep surfaces clean (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, doorknobs, phones, and children’s toys) by wiping them down with an approved household disinfectant.

Clean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person thoroughly before reusing. You do not need to wash items separately.

Wash linens (such as bed sheets and towels) with laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid “hugging” laundry to your body before washing it to prevent contaminating yourself.


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