Five Steps to Take When Caring For Someone with Flu

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports the number of people getting sick with influenza is on the rise and the American Red Cross has steps people should take if they are caring for someone who has the flu.

The (CDC) report for the week of December 29 to January 4 shows 35 states are seeing widespread flu activity, up from 25 a week earlier. Here are the top five steps you should take if you are caring for someone with the flu:

1. Disinfect surfaces everyone touches – door knobs, switches, handles, toys, phones, computers, remote controls, etc.

2. Use detergent and very hot water to do dishes and wash clothes. It’s okay to wash everyone’s dishes and clothes together. Wash your hands after handling dirty laundry.

3. Designate only one adult as the caregiver. People at increased risk of severe illness from the flu should not be caregivers.

4. Deal with crisis situations calmly and confidently to give the best support to the person being cared for.

5. Remember your own needs as well. Practice healthy habits. Eat a balanced diet. Drink plenty of water. Get regular exercise. Get enough sleep and rest.

If someone is ill, they should:

  • Stay in a room separate from common areas of the home and avoid contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay at home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without using medicine to reduce the fever.
  • Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Consider wearing a facemask, if available and tolerable, when sharing common spaces with household members.
  • Check with their healthcare provider about whether they should take antiviral medication, or if fever persists, whether antibiotics are needed.

Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the freeRed Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices. You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting

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