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Handshakes and high-fives are being replaced with fist and elbow bumps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity has been elevated for the past four consecutive weeks.

It is not too late to get vaccinated! The CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for those who have not had their annual flu shot. Another extremely important thing you can do to help protect against the flu is to wash your hands. When done properly, hand washing is a very effective way to fight bacteria and viruses. Use soap and warm water, and if not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Even though hand washing is a simple task, many people do not wash their hands as often as they should. Keep in mind that you are exposed to a variety of germs in your day-to-day life. Harmful germs may linger on doorknobs and elevator buttons. Once exposed, you can infect yourself with germs by touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

Tips to Stop the spread of flu.

* Proper hand washing with soap and warm water:

· Wet your hands with warm, running water, and apply liquid soap or use clean bar soap.

· Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 to 20 seconds or sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

· Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and under your

fingernails.

· Rinse your hands well and then dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.

· Use a towel to turn off the faucet and open a restroom door. Please dispose of the trash properly.

There are times when it is critical to wash your hands to limit bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Always wash your hands:

· After using the bathroom and/or changing a diaper, especially when using a public restroom.

· After touching an animal or animal waste.

· Before eating, as well as before and after the preparation of food, especially before and

immediately after handling raw meat, poultry and fish.

· After blowing your nose or after coughing or sneezing into your hands.

· Before or after treating wounds, cuts, or a sick or injured person.

· After handling garbage.

· Before inserting or removing contact lenses.

The signs and symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and diarrhea and vomiting in some cases. It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or an antiviral drug. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your family doctor and stay at home, away from other people to prevent further spread of the illness.

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