Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What can you do to thwart the flu?

As a self proclaimed flu-aphobic, I refuse to come down with the flu each year… and so far my own self reliance has done well for me, knock on wood.  But as always, as I was sitting down to ponder about a good blog article, I realized, I don’t even really know what the flu is! Which isn’t a good thing, “know thy enemy” after all! And now that I do, hopefully I will yet again be successful at defeating that pesky virus this year and, after you read below, you will as well!
Influenza, or as us simpletons call it, the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of viruses.  Here in the United States, we have a flu season that begins every fall and ends every spring, which is when people catch the “seasonal flu.”  On average, the flu affects 5-20% of our population, minus you and I this year!, with symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening.  It is spread from person to person when someone with that has the flu coughs and/or sneezes without properly covering their nose and mouth. 
What can you do to thwart the flu?
·         Get your flu shot every year for the best chance of protection
·         Always practice good health habits to maintain your body’s resistance to infection
o   Eat a balanced diet
o   Drink plenty of fluids
o   Exercise daily
o   Manage stress
o   Get enough rest and sleep
·         Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
·         Avoid or minimize contact with people who are sick
o   A three feet distance is recommended
·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
·         Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow
·         Stay away from others as much as possible when you are sick
o   Anyone with a fever or other symptoms of the flu should stay home from work or school until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone (without medications)
For more information on the flu, please visit us online!!
Can’t get your kids, or maybe your co-workers, to wash their hands or cough and sneeze properly? Call us to learn more about our Scrubby Bear presentations! We’ll make hygiene fun!
To schedule a presentation or to learn more, please contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at (716) 878-2231 or Herkeyjaroschd@usa.redcross.org. 

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