Stopping H1N1 Flu Spread
A pandemic is a worldwide outbreak that happens when a new flu virus develops. Because few people are immune to the new virus, it spreads easily and quickly as is happening now with the H1N1 virus. While the federal government and states are preparing for a resurgence of H1N1 with the upcoming flu season, it is important that schools, businesses, local governments, and even families and individuals do the same.
“One of the most important things any of us can do to help prevent the spread of influenza is to practice good personal hygiene,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health. “Basic personal hygiene can help prevent seasonal influenza, colds and other respiratory diseases and is even more important in slowing pandemic H1N1 influenza.” Basic hygiene includes the following steps:
* Wash your hands often with soap and water to protect against germs. Use alcohol-based hand gel if soap and water isn’t available.
* If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
* Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread when you touch something that is contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
* If you’re sick, stay home and keep your kids home when they’re sick – for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone (100?F or great).
* Practice other good health habits – get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and avoid smoking.
* Get your flu shot annually to prevent seasonal flu.
* In community and home settings, facemasks and respirators are generally not recommended.
“And remember, just because these public health tools are old, doesn’t mean they’re not highly effective in preventing disease,” said Secretary Hollingsworth. “Our history of having vaccines and drugs to fight infections is really quite short. Much of our progress in reducing deaths in this country since the early 1900’s is due to improving hygiene practices, not to medicines.”