Take steps to avoid the flu

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2009

In media reports this week, health departments in Virginia and other states have confirmed the various flu strains currently out in the open have reached pandemic levels.

Nowhere is the problem more evident than in local doctor’s offices, school classrooms and even some large group gatherings.

Schools have reported a number of absences related to either swine flu or the “regular” flu, and it has even started affecting high-school sporting events, with some schools moving away from the customary water bottles to the use of individual Styrofoam cups.

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Every year, medical officials preach on the importance of quality personal hygiene and the value of receiving an annual flu shot. Probably never in a generation has such advice been more needed and the value of heeding such advice more important.

Companies, schools and other facilities have worked diligently to control the spread of the flu this season and have taken steps to ensure those infected with the virus are sent home and remain home until such time they are no longer contagious.

Regardless of whether you get a flu shot this year, make sure to take steps to ensure you do not help the spread of this virus by going to school or work sick and by following the basics of personal hygiene, such as sneezing into your elbow or a napkin, washing your hands and ensuring not to cough on others.

There is little doubt this year’s flu season will be one to remember, but it is up to each of us to remember the steps we can take to prevent it from being even worse.