National and local news report flu and pneumonia deaths have reached above the epidemic threshold in some areas. Overall, there is marked increase in incidence of illness and hospitalizations for flu and pneumonia. Its important to pay particular care and attention to prevention. Here are some things that you can do to protect yourself, coworkers, family members and those we care for:
- Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer frequently.
Everyone usually thinks about ourselves and washing hands but understand that young or old, sick people we care for also need reminders to wash hands frequently, throughout the day, every day.
- Key times to wash hands include after using the bathroom, before meals, after treatments and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose.
- Wash hands with antibacterial soap and water when they are visibly soiled.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
- Cover your mouth. Avoid coughing into the air, even away from people. Cough into a Kleenex or your sleeve.
- Disinfect! Your keyboard, phone and inanimate surfaces spread germs; so do door knobs, lights switches, faucets, to name a few popular places. Disinfect these surfaces with a Clorox/sanitizing wipe at least on a daily basis and more frequently as needed.
- Use tissues once and throw away. Keep a bag or trash can close by to discard tissues in.
- Get the flu shot; its not too late. If you haven’t received the flu shot yet, please do it. The flu vaccine not only protects you from lost down time, you in turn protect your loved ones.Stay home if you are ill. Guilt can cause us to get out of bed and drag ourselves to work when we are sick. You will get better faster and decrease the risk of infecting everyone around you if you take the time to rest and recuperate.
Facts about the flu shot and its impact on prevention from The Center For Disease Control:
A key prevention that many people frequently forget about when caring for someone else is mouth care. There are many germs that live in our mouths. The germs grow very rapidly and exponentially if mouth care isn’t done frequently throughout the day. Brushing teeth and tongue after meals and at bedtime and swishing with antiseptic mouthwash along with handwashing will further the mission toward preventing pneumonia, flu, and other illnesses that are prevalent right now.
If you are concerned you or someone you love has the flu, review this Center for Disease Control site.
Let’s all stay healthy!