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Avoiding the Flu Is In Your Hands

As flu season approaches, experts advise an easy method for staying disease-free.

Clean your hands.

Sharon Goforth, special projects supervisor at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department said, "Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of diseases such as influenza (the flu)."

Flu symptoms typically consist of fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and extreme tiredness, said Dr. Valerie Boaz, health officer at the health department in latest news release.

Generally, the flu lasts a few days to two weeks. Depending on the person's health and the strain of flu, the flu at times leads to pneumonia or death.

Five percent to 20 percent of Americans catch the flu every year, Dr. Boaz said. Around 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu complications, she added.

Record numbers of vaccines are obtainable this year. Ask your doctor, look in local media for clinics at local grocery stores or malls or call the health department to receive a shot or nasal-spray vaccination.

Dr. Boaz said, "With the expectation of ample flu vaccine this year, we are encouraging everyone age 6 months and older to protect themselves with a flu vaccination."

Those at high risk should be vaccinated each year, she added. Those people consist of children ages 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women, people 50 and older, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live in long-term care facilities. The caretakers for children, seniors and those who are unwell also ought to be vaccinated, Dr. Boaz said.

However, the vaccine only protects from the most common strains of the flu. There are hundreds of strains of flu virus. You cannot count on the vaccine to protect you from all possible viruses.

In the meantime, throughout the flu season (November to March), flu germs are factually everywhere, on doorknobs, other people's hands, in the air.

Keep away from those germs, and you boost your chances of sailing healthily through the season.

Wash your hands with soap and water long enough, to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice and you have cleaned the virus away.

Ms. Goforth said Plain old soap is all you call for to conquer the flu virus.

Antibacterial soaps add no further protection since the flu is a virus, and antibiotics only kill bacteria, different germs entirely.

Ms. Goforth said other ways to protect yourself, or others, include staying home from work or school.

When you are ill, mask your coughs or sneezes with a tissue. Do not touch others, if you can.

Moreover, clean your hands with gel hand sanitizers often, if soap and water are not handy, the CDC suggests.

"If you or someone in your family gets sick with influenza please stay at home to avoid further spread, do not go to work and share it with your co-workers and do not sent the kids to school," she said.



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