OK, I’m not a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, or a paramedic. In fact, I don’t even have a valid first aid card. But I do know we are about to be hit with an influenza epidemic.
On top of that, there’s some sort of respiratory disease making the rounds in our little town which sometimes lasts for up to six weeks.
From what I’ve read and heard, both of these illnesses are extremely contagious, and can be very dangerous for people older than 65 and young children.
As for the flu, they say you can infect someone else up to four days before you even feel the symptoms. That means that if someone in your household, place of business, etc., has been exposed to someone who has or is about to come down with the flu, you very well may be contagious without even knowing it.
Here’s what the Center for Disease Control recommends we do to minimize the spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
- While sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. (If you don’t have a tissue handy cover your mouth by sticking your face into the crook of your arm when you cough or sneeze. Putting your hand over your mouth probably only redirects the virus.)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. (If someone who is contagious touches a surface, then you touch it, then touch your nose or mouth without first washing your hands, you’re about to get sick).
Stay well my friends.