Take precautionsPublished 8:53pm Friday, December 14, 2012
The 2012-2012 influenza season started early this year, and that means that flu-related suffering for some people started early.
The flu is not just a cold on steroids. The flu kills. The flu is no respecter of age; it kills children and the aged.
Spokesmen for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments are urging people to get flu vaccinations if they have not done so this flu season. Those vaccinations are available at health departments, pharmacies and doctor’s offices. If you don’t have insurance to pay for a vaccination, it’s worth the $35 or so the vaccination provider charges.
And if you are thinking about visiting someone who’s a hospital patient, don’t make that visit if you are exhibiting flu-like systems. The last thing you want to do is spread the flu virus through a hospital by visiting a particular patient and coming into contact with hospital staff, other visitors and other patients.
Be patient if a hospital imposes stricter visitation rules during the flu season. It’s not to inconvenience anyone; it’s to protect the public’s health.
Here are a few, simple rules to follow when it comes to preventing the spread of the flu:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
• If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
• Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
• Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure.