Questions & Answers
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older, especially people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu, get vaccinated each season. To learn more, see Key Facts about Flu Vaccine.
Also, antiviral medications, which can treat flu illness, may be used in certain circumstances to prevent the flu.
There is no scientific evidence that any herbal, homeopathic or other folk remedies have any benefit against influenza.
Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on surfaces between 2 and 8 hours.
Influenza viruses can be destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics) and alcohols are effective against influenza viruses if used in proper concentrations for a sufficient length of time. For example, alcohol-based hand rubs can be used in the absence of soap and water for hand washing.
If soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful.