Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It's all over the headlines these days — H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. Nobody really knows how this disease is going to play out, and predictions are all over the charts. What we do know is that there are some pretty simple procedures we can follow to minimize our exposure. Don't be put off by the simplicity of these recommendations. Just because they're basic doesn't mean they don't work. If you have children, teach them these things, because school is a very active place for passing disease around.

  • This disease is spread via coughs, sneezes and direct physical contact with things that are carrying the virus. If you cough or sneeze, cover your face with a handkerchief, not with your bare hand.
  • If you are in a room with other people who are coughing and sneezing, consider leaving.
  • Without becoming a compulsive makeover of Howard Hughes, wash your hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. After contact with other people, and before you have a chance to wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face. 
  • When soap and water are not available, us an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's the alcohol that kills the germs. Not all "germicidal" products contain alcohol, so they won't actually kill viruses. 
  • Use antibiotic wipes to swab public items such as grocery cart handles before you touch them.  
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do everybody a favor by not sharing whatever ails you. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms of the H1N1 virus include fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting. The only place you should go is to see the doctor. The recommendation is that you stay home and isolate yourself from other people for at least 24 hours after your fever has broken. 
  • Speaking of medical care, unless you are sick, stay away from doctors offices, hospitals, clinics and anyplace where sick people congregate. Seems like the best place to get sick is at a hospital.
  • Wearing face masks may not do any good, as it is believed they become ineffective as soon as they become moist from your breath. 
The best thing you can do when disease is running rampant is to avoid sick people, use the best sanitation practices possible, and maintain a highly nutritious lifestyle. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and take supplements proven to provide high levels of antioxidant to promote a strong immune system.

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