Thursday, December 9, 2004
Seven simple steps you take to ward off the flu

Holiday gatherings bring our favorite people together, along with their coughs and sneezes. To keep everyone healthy, the Division of Public Health recommends the following prevention steps:
  • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who may be sick. This includes avoiding sharing eating utensils, drinking glasses and other items. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, shopping and gatherings when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. If you donít have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Discard used tissues in a wastebasket.
  • Clean your hands.
  • Wash your hands after coughs, sneezes, helping children with hygiene, and throughout the day. Use soap and lather up for the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. Gel doesnít need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands. Carry hand sanitizer and tissues in your car, briefcase or purse.
  • 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. Assist children by washing their hands and blowing their noses.
  • Clean thoroughly and often. Regularly clean countertops and frequently used knobs with wipes containing bleach. Wash hand towels and dish towels frequently.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals with extra helpings of vegetables and fruits. Get plenty of rest so your body is better equipped to fend off viruses.