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EDITORIAL: Flu season is here. Here's how to protect yourself and others

The Courier - 12/19/2017

Dec. 19--Flu has struck Louisiana residents hard this season, and health officials say there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

For the week ending Dec. 9, Louisiana reported 600 cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And about one of every 20 doctor visits throughout the state have been for flu-like symptoms. The 5 percent figure is higher than the 2 percent recorded during an average December. And Louisiana's rate is higher than most of the country.

Flu is serious. Over the past decade, the virus has killed an estimated 30,000 people a year across the U.S. The most vulnerable include the elderly, young children and people with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms usually come on quickly. They include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

State and federal officials recommend that everyone get a flu shot, especially if you are at high risk of complications. Aside from that, you can minimize your risk and avoid spreading the disease by following these recommendations from the CDC:

* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

* While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

* If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

* Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Taking a few simple precautions will prevent a lot of misery for you and those around you.

-- Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.


(c)2017 The Houma Courier, La.

Visit The Houma Courier, La. at www.houmatoday.com

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