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Stay ahead of the cold & flu this season. Before you leave the house check in with our cold & flu tracker. Enter a zip code and keep an eye on cold and flu outbreaks in your area and around the country.


What's the difference between a Cold and the Flu? Between the Swine Flu and Bird Flu? Who's at greatest risk for the Flu? Protecting your family from the germs that cause colds and the flu is easier than you might think. We're glad you asked. Find all this and more.

Following Good Health Habits

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, the following general habits can help protect you from getting sick ... and infecting others if you are ill.

  • Avoid close contact. Stay away from someone who is sick ... and stay home when YOU are sick.
  • Follow a strict handwashing routine. Proper handwashing is particularly critical in the prevention of cold and flu, since these viruses are spread through hand-to-hand contact or by touching a surface that has been contaminated.
    See when to wash and review step-by-step handwashing instructions.
  • Cover Your Cough. Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and then throw it in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Then be sure to wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available. Learn more about CDC's Cover Your Cough campaign.
  • Don't touch your mouth, nose and eyes. This is how you transfer the germs that can make you sick.
  • Take care of yourself to stay healthy and help fight off germs. CDC recommends that you:
    • Get rest
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Be physically active
    • Manage your stress
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Eat nutritious food
    • Don't smoke/quit smoking