By Meron Tesfai and Kevin Myers

The holidays are a time of gatherings and celebrations with friends and family. Influenza (flu) is also making the rounds in Boston this season. BPHC has been receiving reports of a significant number of influenza cases in recent weeks. In addition, the rates of influenza-like illness (defined as a fever of 100.4°F or higher, plus a cough and/or sore throat) are being tracked through our local emergency departments.

Flu 12.24.12

Getting vaccinated is the best protection against influenza. For more information, visit

Besides getting the vaccine, there are several easy steps everyone should take to take to limit their exposure to the flu and to help everyone around them stay healthy, too.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze. Then throw the used tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your upper sleeve.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Stay home when you are sick. It is recommended that you stay at home for 24 hours after your fever has gone away without the use of fever reducing medicines. For most people, this is a minimum of 4 days.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, whenever possible.

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Get a flu vaccine to make sure you receive the best gift of all this holiday season – good health!

Meron Tesfai and Kevin Myers are public health nurses with BPHC’s Communicable Disease Control Division.