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The flu and common cold are contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning a day or two before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick.

To help stop the spread, follow these helpful tips:

The single most effective thing you can do to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated every year.

The best way to avoid catching a cold is to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer will suffice if water and soap are currently unavailable.

To avoid spreading colds and the flu, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if possible when sick.

Linens, eating utensils and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.

Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.

If you have any remaining questions, please contact your healthcare provider.

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