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Flu Prevention

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year

Influenza (flu) is a seasonal disease that can cause mild to severe illness. Most experts think flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. People can spread the flu even if they don't know they’re sick. The flu can be more serious for some people, including young children, pregnant women, older people, people with certain health conditions and smokers.

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How to Avoid the Flu

Get the seasonal flu vaccine​

To find out where to get your flu vaccination, use the Flu Vaccine Finder or call 211 (

The majority of flu is spread by young, healthy, unvaccinated children and adults. That's why vaccination is such an important part of flu prevention.

  • Flu vaccine is recommend for people 6 months and older. Check with a medical provider to see which vaccine is right you.

Watch: 4 great reasons to get a flu shot.​

Wash your hands
  • Washing your hands often helps protect you from germs.
  • washinghands
  • Use soap and warm water. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You can find these products in most supermarkets and drugstores.
  • If the hand sanitizer is a gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol kills the germs on your hands.
Take everyday precautions
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you get sick.
  • Clean work and household surfaces often.
  • Wear a mask if you have a weakened immune system.
  • Ask your family, friends and health providers to get a flu vaccination.
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Manage any chronic conditions.
Quit smoking

People who smoke get the flu more easily and get sicker from the virus. This is also true of people who breathe secondhand smoke, especially children and senior citizens. 

Contact the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or

For Providers and Local Health Departments