Got swine flu? Stay home and keep it to yourself

Published 6:05 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By Staff
If swine flu makes it to Beaufort County — and there’s a pretty good chance it will, health professionals say — residents should avoid panicking and spreading the disease.
Authorities suspect the virus debuted in the state Tuesday, though in the U.S. it hasn’t been any more deadly than regular flu. The flu can be treated with sensible precautions and no public chaos.
There’s nothing heroic about struggling through work if half the office ends up sick. We know that some folks can’t afford a week off without pay, but this disease shouldn’t be allowed to spread.
We should also be glad that our state and local officials are preparing in case the disease makes it out this way. Local authorities must coordinate between doctors and state health officials, and we predict they’ll do a good job when and if the virus spreads.
There were 64 confirmed cases of the disease in the U.S. as of midday Tuesday, so it makes sense for all of us to be aware of the virus, keep our heads and not overreact.
Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.