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Keep yourself and those around you safe this flu season

October 9, 2017

As cold and flu season is upon us, it’s time to take precautionary measures to keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe from infection. Ensuring you get a flu vaccine and practicing proper hand hygiene will help protect you and those around you.

Get your flu vaccine as soon as it is available from your local health care provider. It is important for all people to get vaccinated for the flu to protect ourselves, as well as our family, coworkers and community. In addition, influenza poses a greater risk to certain people like pregnant women, children and Elders – they are all at high risk for flu-related complications.

This time of year, it is also very important to practice proper hand hygiene. You should always wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food; before eating food; before and after caring for someone who is sick; before and after treating a cut or wound; after using the toilet; after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; after handling pet food or pet treats; and after touching garbage.

How should you wash your hands? Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap; lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between fingers and under nails; scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice; rinse your hands well under clean, running water; and dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If you don’t have clean, running water available to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. To effectively use a hand sanitizer, apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount); rub your hands together; and rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Following these tips will help to ensure a safe winter season for you and those around you.

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