Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu- What Can You Do?

The Swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the newly diagnosed cases in the U.S. are a stark reminder that a flu pandemic is not out of the question. It's easy to get overwhelmed and scared.

Public health officials including experts at the World Health Organization and the CDC agree that some of the most powerful methods in fighting infectious disease are really the simplest. One estimate is that a combination of hand washing and breaking some bad sneezing habits could actually reduce:

:-36,000 deaths due to the flu

- 5,000 deaths due to food borne illness

- 76 million people contracting food borne illness

-22 million days absent from school

But here's the problem we have to take these habits as serious as we do taking medicine-washing here and there, covering your mouth when you sneeze is not going to cut it. If you do these actions consistently you will absolutely reduce your risk of being sick:

So let's take a look at these simple, but potentially life saving actions

1. Wash your hands every time they are dirty or you sneeze- and wash them for about 20 seconds in hot soapy water

2. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. This is something that as adults we were not taught- but watch your kids and what they learn at school-the proper method now is to sneeze or cough into your elbow.

3. Do not put your hands in your eyes, nose, mouth - this simply brings the germs into your body

Now in addition to this, avoid close contact with people who are sick. 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.

Finally - practice other good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

No one likes to be sick-but we tend to discount health habits like these as being powerful. In the case of the flu and other types of illnesses they are extremely powerful however.

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