Flu Season by Parish Nurse Jill Stewart

Seasonal influenza is occurring at high levels right now. Influenza is a respiratory illness that hits hard and fast. It can be very serious for people of any age, but the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions may be impacted most.

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated, and it is not too late in the season to benefit from vaccination. It is also essential to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth). You can use hand sanitizer when you aren’t near soap and water; then wash when you can. These steps will help reduce the chance of picking up other kinds of respiratory illnesses, too. In church, it is okay to share the peace by elbow touches or peace signs instead of shaking hands. Smiles will never spread the flu.

To keep from sharing coughs and sneezes, do not use your hands – cover your cough with a tissue (or your sleeve) and stay home if you are ill. For more information about influenza (including where to get vaccinated), contact your health care provider or visit this State Health Department Flu Facts website.