Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H1N1 Prevention Series #1: What is it and old advice

Today starts a series of 3 blogs we will be posting for the prevention of the flu and overall good health in a home.
This morning I learned my 7 year old niece may have the swine flu. News of the flu is everywhere and you can't help but wonder how at risk are we? There are never any guarantees but a ounce of prevention may be in order this season.

Recently I read an article called "Preparing your organization for H1N1 Pandemic Influenza ( Swine Flu): Planning and Prevention" by Roger McFadden Senior Scientist Staples Facility Solutions Inc. There was information in this article I found valuable and wanted to share with you.

"What is pandemic flu: "The flu also know as influenza, is a contagious respiratory virus that affects millions of Americans each year... A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine."
How does the flu spread? "Like any contagious flu or virus, H1N1 can spread by an infected person through coughing or sneezing. You can also become infected by touching something-such as a surface or object- that is infected with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2-8 hours after being deposited on surface."

A good friend of mine has a saying "don't panic everyone stay calm". This is probably the best advice we could hear with the swine flu. That said, an ounce of prevention can do no harm but it just might keep us and our families safe and healthy.
In a later blog I will discus disinfectants and cleaning but first I always like to start with the mildest means possible- awareness and prevention:

Most of the following suggestions are old and wise, there is nothing earth shattering about this advice and yet sometimes the simplest is the best.

Flu prevention 101:

1- Wash your hands. I know this is basic and yet this is the most important prevention step you can take.
a- when you wash your hands use warm water, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or until you are done singing the alphabet song. Rinse thouroughly and dry with a clean towel. Shut off the water with paper towel or use your elbo if possible- don't use your clean hands on the faucet.
b- Wash you hands anytime your come home from shopping or being out. As soon as you walk in the door - go wash your hands.
c- Before you eat- wash your hands. We tend to snack as we run around. This is not as healthy as washing up for dinner and sitting down at a table.
d- If water isn't avaiable use a hand sanitizer.

2- Keep your germs to yourself
a- If you are sick stay home.
b- Don't sneeze or cough into your hands.
Sneeze/cough into a tissue or your elbo pit
Throw the tissue away and then wash your hands -for 20 seconds

3- Keep your hands away from your face.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you have just washed your hands.

I know the prevention tips listed sound like your mother, As I was writing I heard my mother's voice: "Go wash up for dinner, sneeze into a kleenix, get your hands away from your face." Our fast paced lifestyle is not always condusive to good health but listen to your mother and be healthy.
These simple and old tips are also extremely effective in prevention of ill health.

Wishing you and your families and happy and healthy season,

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