Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple Steps Help Prevent the Flu

Given recent concerns over the Swine Flu outbreak, Tacoma Fire Department offers this simple reminder.

Every year, an estimated 5% to 20% of the United States populace suffers from seasonal influenza, more commonly known as the flu. While many consider the flu "just a bad cold," in reality, each year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu complications and approximately 36,000 people die from flu related causes.

Many people are classified as high risk for the flu by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These groups include the elderly, young children, caregivers - including firefighters and nursing staff and people with chronic illness. Getting a flu vaccination is a valuable prevention strategy for everyone, but it is especially important for those who are considered high risk.

TFD and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) also encourage you to practice six simple habits that can minimize your risk of getting sick from either seasonal or swine flu:

Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For breaking news from the CDC regarding the Swine Flu, follow or subscribe to the information widget to on this page. (Article content courtesy of CDC & LAFD)