Butler County Health Department Reminds Public to Practice Good Health Habits to Prevent Spread of Flu
The Butler County Health Department reminds the public to practice good health habits to prevent the spread of flu at home, work and school. “As the flu season approaches, we are urging residents to practice good hygiene habits, such as coughing or sneezing into their elbows and washing hands often,” said Dennis Chaney, Barren River District Health Department Director. “Colds and flu are often spread by respiratory droplets of an infected person landing on or coming into contact with those uninfected, and some viruses and bacteria can live hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs and desktops. We all need to take basic precautions to avoid the spread of germs and viruses.”
In addition to coughing and sneezing into your elbow, other good health habits that can help prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses are:
* Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds or by using alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches an object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
* Get an annual flu shot to help the human body develop antibodies to protect against flu virus infection. This year’s flu vaccine includes the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) strain as part of the regular seasonal vaccine. All residents age 6 months and older are now recommended to receive annual flu vaccination.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick.
* Stay home from work, school and errands if possible when you are sick. This will help prevent others from catching your illness.
* Remind children to also practice healthy habits because germs spread easily at school and in child care settings, resulting in high rates of absenteeism among students and staff in our country’s 119,000 schools.
Influenza, or flu, is a very contagious disease caused by the flu virus, which spreads from infected persons to the nose and throat of others. Flu can lead to pneumonia and can be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children or those with heart or breathing conditions. Approximately 23,000 deaths due to seasonal flu and its complications occur on average each year in the U.S., according to recently updated estimates from the CDC. However, actual numbers of deaths vary from year to year.
For more information on flu or to schedule an appointment, call the Butler County Health Department at (270) 526-3221 or go to www.BarrenRiverHealth.org.