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Beware—viruses can easily spread from one person to another.

We come into contact with viruses and bacteria all the time. But during cold and flu season, catching a cold or the flu occurs more often because we don’t pay attention to how germs are spreading.

Common ways cold and flu viruses spread

Germs in air

Passed through the air by coughing and sneezing.

Person touching doornknob

Physical contact with the virus on objects.

Person rubbing eyes

Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands.

Fight cold and flu viruses with these

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Clean your hands often with an alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water.

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Get an annual flu shot before the start of flu season. It takes at least 2 weeks to build immunity.

Flu shot:

Administered through a needle and containing an inactivated vaccine (containing killed viruses), the flu vaccine protects against 4 strains of the virus. Since strains change and mutate, it’s a good idea to update your flu shot yearly. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot, with some exceptions.1

See who should not receive the flu shot

Flu nasal spray:

This is sprayed into the nasal passages and contains a low dose of live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine”).

See who should not receive the flu nasal spray