The flu is a virus passed (1) through the droplets of sneezes and coughs, and (2) by touching surfaces infected by people with influenza. Protecting yourself is easier than you think:
1. Use a tissue to cover your cough and sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze in your sleeve, not in your hand. Covering your cough is key to preventing the spread of the virus. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands. Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve avoids
infecting your hands and keeps germs from spreading to people or surfaces around you.
2. Keep your hands away from your face and don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. Germs on your hands can easily spread to your mouth, nose, and eyes when you touch your face.
3. Wash your hands with soap often (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer). Germs can live for up to 8 hours on all the surfaces you touch. Take the time — every time — to wash your hands when you’ve been in public (that goes for meetings, the supermarket, school, the park…anywhere your hands touch something that other hands have touched). And especially before you eat.
4. Keep frequently used surfaces clean.
5. Stay home if you get sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, leaving the house only to get medical care. Schools and workplaces are encouraging this policy to avoid infecting other students and employees.
One last tip to prepare for the upcoming flu season: Stock over-the-counter medications, alcohol-based cleaner, tissues and plenty of fluids while you’re well to avoid the need for a pharmacy trip in the event you do get sick
The nurse in each building will be watchful for students with influenza-like symptoms (fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, sore throat, nausea/vomiting and diarrhea) who may have been exposed to the new swine flu strain.
Links to Additional Facts for the Flu:
Allegheny County Health Department