It’s that time of year again! Along with all the holidays and festive seasonal celebrations, we also get our annual “flu epidemic.”
School absences in the last few days have seen a slight increase in absence due to the flu, so this is a very good time to remind ourselves that a few precautionary measures are in order.
Most who get the flu recover after a few days. Others whose immune systems are taxed beyond measure find it very difficult to fight influenza.
Therefore, it is imperative that precautionary measures are not only in place at our schools but also at home and in our places of business.
If at all possible, get a flu shot. Many area drug stores offer flu shots on site or contact your family doctor.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Lack a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Make certain that garment is washed before wearing again.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Practice an effective hand washing technique. For instance, sing a song in your mind that gives you an adequate amount of time to truly wash your hands (singing the ABC’s works well). If soap is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. With smaller children, toys, books and electronic devices that are shared are great transmitters of germs. Adults should be more aware of door handles, public restrooms and grocery cart handles.
Avoid close contact with sick people. On the other hand, be aware of neighbors or the elderly you might need to check on. Running a few errands and delivering a much needed meal can make all the difference in the world.
If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Even though your school and employer want you there, do them a real favor and be well before returning to school/work.
To keep your immune system healthy, get enough sleep, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly, drink at least eight glasses of water a day and keep stress levels to a minimum.
(Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund Director/Information Officer for Rush County Schools.)