Seasonal Advice from UMMC Experts
Written By: Niharika
Associate Professor Family and Community Medicine
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Avoiding Influenza this Holiday Season
Holidays are a time for fun and family. They are also a time when you will be going to places to
party, worship, and interact with a lot of people. You may travel and come in contact with a lot
of other people.
If you are in any of the following high risk groups, please plan to get the seasonal
- You are 65 years of age or older.
- You have a chronic medical condition that increases your risk for influenza, such as diabetes,
lung or heart disease, or other chronic disease.
- You are on long-term steroids.
- You are a cancer survivor on medication or getting radiation therapy.
- You have received an organ transplant.
- You are on immunosuppressive drugs.
- You are a health care worker.
Overall, if you fit into any of the above high risk criteria and are older than 65 or younger than
six, check with your doctor to see if you may also need the pneumococcal vaccine.
Symptoms and Treatment
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have an influenza-like illness:
- Fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius
- High fever accompanied by a cough or sore throat.
If you are sick with any of the above symptoms, you should:
- Check your temperature, and if it is greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees
Celsius without taking fever reducing medications such as Tylenol, plan to stay home.
- You should stay at home for 24 hours after your temperature is below 100 degrees Fahrenheit or
37.8 degrees Celsius.
- Avoid contact with people, cancel visits to friends' homes, parties, shopping malls, or places
- Cover your nose and mouth after you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after you cough or sneeze.
- Alcohol-based hand cleaners are effective in decreasing the spread of infection.
- Throw used tissues into the trash.
- If you touch any part of your face, then wash your hands with soap and water.
- If you are a health care worker or work with children, check your workplace policies regarding
staying home when sick.
You are most likely to contract sniffles, coughs, and colds during the holidays when you are
meeting lots of people. Here are some suggestions to minimize your chances of catching one of
- Eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated and warm.
- Try to wash your hands with soap and water when you do any of the following: use the bathroom,
shake hands or hug people who may be sick with a cold, use public transportation such as a bus or
- Follow public health advice on television regarding avoiding crowds.
- If you must care for or have contact with a sick person, wear a facemask.
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This page was last updated on:
December 8, 2011.