Influenza season is in full swing.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health the most common flu strain this season is associated with more severe symptoms. While the majority of Scott Air Force Base personnel have been vaccinated, which will help prevent illnesses, there are more things people can do to reduce the spread of influenza:
▪ It’s not too late to get a flu shot, and while it is not 100 percent effective at preventing flu, it can reduce the severity of the disease and prevent further spread;
▪ Try to avoid close contact with sick people;
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▪ Avoid crowds. This prevents contact with individuals people may not know are sick and contagious. During the cold winter days people tend to congregate indoors, which facilitates germ spread;
▪ If people develop a flu-like illness, they should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks (this should be without the help of a fever reducing medicine). This keeps germs out of work and schools;
▪ People should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Individuals should use a tissue or the inner crook of their elbow to avoid contaminating their hands;
▪ Wash hands often with soap and water. When not immediately available substitute an alcohol based-hand sanitizer;
▪ Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. This prevents the transfer of germs from surfaces to favored entry points into the respiratory system;
▪ Clean and disinfect common surfaces and objects frequently touched. (i.e. desk surfaces, telephones, pens, door knobs, etc.);
▪ Politely avoid shaking hands as a greeting during cold and flu season;
▪ Avoid sharing commonly used items, i.e. pens and the like get passed around and carry germs; and
▪ Finally, maintain a healthy life style—good nutrition, rest, exercise, and stress reduction will help reduce physical susceptibility.