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Health Department Urges Residents to Consider Flu Safety

Shane Lockwood said the flu has spread at a higher rate entering 2013. Are you taking precautions to avoid getting sick?

The following was submitted by Shane Lockwood, director of health for the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District.

Each year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. As flu activity begins in Connecticut, the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District would like to remind residents of these simple steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can be taken to protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu.

The CDC recommends an annual flu shot as the best protection against the flu. The flu shot is especially important in people with high risks including: young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

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Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Visit http://www.flu.gov/ to find flu shot clinics and providers:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

With these tips, the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District hopes to lessen the impact of the flu in the area. Please remember most people who get influenza will take a few days to a week to recover. Some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, so we urge you to contact your health care provider as needed.

For more information on the seasonal flu, please visit http://www.flu.gov/.

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