With the addition of more school closings and the raising of the level assigned to Swine Flu by the Who, many people are wondering just how to avoid contracting it. Fort Worth School District in Texas has closed its doors until May 11th. Dallas Independent School District closed an elementary school today for at least a week in connection with the flu. Cleburn has canceled classes in its schools, as well.
All schools closing are performing disinfecting of all surfaces in the schools in an effort to lessen the potential spread of Swine Flu. This is because the virus, like all viruses, has a period in which it can live on surfaces without a host. Then, it has a six to seven day incubation period before the illness is felt by the person who has contracted it.
Here are some ways you can help protect yourself and your family from the Swine Flu:
Avoid close contact.
Don’t get close to people who are already sick, no matter the reason they are sick. When you are sick, you should extend the same courtesy and keep your distance from others. This helps to prevent the spread of any illness.
Stay home if you are sick.
The CDC has recommended that you listen to the advice of your mother on this one. If you don’t feel well, then stay at home to rest and recuperate. Do not place importance on work or other issues. Place importance on feeling better. Rest, get plenty of fluids, and if your condition worsens, then seek medical attention.
Cover your mouth and your nose.
When you sneeze or cough, tiny droplets of moisture are released. (Ok, sometimes, not so tiny droplets). The point is that these droplets are where viruses live and how they spread from host to host. Use a little etiquette and cover your mouth and nose when performing these bodily functions with a tissue that you throw away afterward.
If you cannot find or do not have a tissue handy, then use your shirt sleeve around the elbow instead of your hand to cover your nose and mouth. Then, make sure you launder the shirt as soon as possible.
Clean your hands.
Washing your hands will really eliminate most of the potential for spreading any virus, including Swine Flu. To wash properly, make sure you soap up past your wrists and that you wash for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. Rinse carefully and use a paper towel to turn off the water and dry your hands. This keeps you from touching surfaces that might have the same germs on them as the ones you just washed off.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Germs love moist places. By touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, you are raising the risk of introducing germs into your body. Avoiding these areas will increase the likelihood of you remaining healthy.
Practice good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a nutritious diet. These simple things can go a long way to preventing diseases of all types, not just Swine Flu.
Avoid large crowds and gatherings.
Viruses love large crowds and gatherings. This is because there are a multitude of potential hosts as well as many people who are not practicing courtesies that create the spread of illness-i.e. Coughing and sneezing without covering the nose or mouth.
Do not share cups or food with anyone.
Saliva is passed through any contact with surfaces such as cups for drinking and bites of food such as hamburgers. Before you put your mouth on it, perhaps you should consider that not all illness can be seen. Get your own drink and your own food-don’t share it by eating or drinking after everyone else. It’s an infection waiting to happen.
Following these simple steps can go a long way in keeping you healthy during this outbreak of Swine Flu.