Preventive Measures for Flu Outbreaks

The recent outbreak of swine flu has many people wondering what they can do to protect themselves and their families against this virus. Here are five simple precautionary measures from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

     1.     Clean your hands often. Use soap and hot water and wash for at least 20 seconds — that’s about the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (The CDC recommends sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol concentration).

     2.     Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth — these are easiest paths for the virus to invade your body.

     3.     Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue away immediately after use, and then clean your hands. If a tissue is not immediately available, cough into your sleeve or elbow, NOT into your hands. (If you cough or sneeze into your hands, you can transfer the virus to the surfaces you touch, potentially exposing those who touch the same surfaces after you.)

     4.     Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

     5.     If you do become ill, stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

If you have children, be sure to take the time to teach them these healthy habits. Good hygiene is one the best weapons we have to limit the spread of the flu, so stay clean to stay healthy!