Share information, not fluPublished 9:40pm Monday, January 14, 2013
It’s been going around. And around. In line with the rest of the country, the flu has hit Beaufort County hard this year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread outbreaks in 47 out of 50 states, up from just a week ago. All of us know one or two or five people who’ve had it this year, if we haven’t actually succumbed to the illness ourselves.
Not falling prey to the virus can be as simple as an ounce of prevention — wash your hands. According to a press release from the American Red Cross, there is a proper way to do it.
The press release recommends that flu avoiders should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. That means the entire hand, including underneath fingernails and jewelry. If in a public place, or in a household or office where flu victims might be lurking, use a disposal towel to the dry them thoroughly then use the towel to turn off the faucet. Sure it’s a waste of water, but better that than a waste of sick days and visits to the doctor.
Another way to promote prevention is teaching children to cover their noses and mouths when they sneeze or cough, just not with their hands. Tissues are the optimum choice, but in the case of an emergency sneeze or coughing fit, covering nose and mouth with the elbow or upper arm is the best option in a pinch.
The Red Cross and NSF International (an independent, not-for-profit organization providing standards development, product certification, auditing, education and risk management for environment and public health) have even come up with a way to make scrubbing up — and preventing the spread of illness—fun with “The Scrub Club,” an interactive website that offers free materials to raise awareness about the benefits of hand washing to fight germs. ScrubClub.org features cartoons starring seven “soaper-heroes,” as well as educational materials, music and games.
Educating ourselves and our children, washing hands and keeping them away from eyes, nose and mouth might just mean sitting this flu season out this year.
Share the information, not the virus.