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Protect Yourself And Our Community From The Flu

It?s winter time, and the flu season is here. This year, the level of influenza-related illness across the United States has been moderately high. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined this year?s incidence as an epidemic, you should not be alarmed. There are several things you can do to protect yourself from the flu, prevent it from spreading and speed up recovery, should you contract the virus.

First, get vaccinated. It is not too late to get a flu shot. This is the best available form of protection from the virus. While it is still possible to contract the flu after receiving a vaccination, it is much less likely. Tests conducted by the CDC in early January indicate that you are 62 percent less likely to contract the flu this year if you received the 2012-2013 vaccination. To get your flu shot, go to the Public Health Department, a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your physician?s office.

Other important preventative measures suggested by the CDC include:

- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. This will block the spread of potential germs.

- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, preferably, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, where germs can enter your body.

- Avoiding close contact with people. Particular if you notice flu-like symptoms.

- Cleaning frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, phones and keypads.

- Knowing your employer?s plan and/or your children?s school?s plan should a widespread outbreak of the virus occur.

- Following the direction of our local Public Health Department.

Parkview Regional Hospital also is taking the appropriate steps at our facility to prevent the flu from spreading. We are doing this by:

- Providing masks to all visitors and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms,

- Availability throughout the facility of tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers,

- Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors who have not done so already to get their flu shot, and

- Providing educational material to all visitors about everyday preventative actions.

If you or a loved one begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or upper respiratory symptoms, please see your doctor right away. Early detection is especially important for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues. When detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days.

In addition, limit contact with others as much as possible immediately after noticing symptoms. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities.

At Parkview Regional Hospital, we always focus on making our community healthier. During flu season and year-round, we are here to respond to your healthcare needs by providing top quality care close to home.

For additional information about influenza, visit www.cdc.org/flu or contact the Public Health Department.

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