Take these steps to avoid the flu

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Arizona is experiencing a surge in influenza cases, although several steps can be taken to limit exposure.

Dr. Phil Garrod, medical director of Campus Health Services, said influenza is spread mainly through coughs and sneezes that pass the virus from person to person.

Garrod warns that the flu is highly contagious; healthy adults may be able to spread the virus from one day before symptoms develop to five days after becoming sick, while children may pass on the virus for a week or more. Also, a person may have the virus and have no symptoms, but still be able to pass it on.

Garrod urges those who are ill to stay home, if possible, to prevent further spread.

Here are other tips to avoid the flu:

  • Get a flu shot. Protection can last up to a year.
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid making contact with your hands to your mouth, nose and eyes. Wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, which make you more vulnerable to respiratory infections.
  • Exercise to boost your immune system and relieve stress.
  • Avoid close contact if you do get the flu to avoid spreading it to others.