Turns out that the first step in preventing the spread of any kind of virus is the easiest for us to do - increase the quality of our hygiene and health habits. This means that simply washing our hands regularly (the CDC recommends that you wash with soap and warm/hot water for at least 30 seconds while rubbing your hands together vigorously) and limiting how much we touch our faces (eyes, nose, mouth) significantly decreases our chances of contracting influenza.
Some other steps you can take to prevent contracting or transmitting the Flu:
- Avoid sick people and stay home if you are sick (coughing/sneezing can affect an area up to 6 feet around the person);
- Disinfect surfaces (desks, counters, doorknobs, etc at the home and office)
- Stay healthy - drink lots of water, get regular excerise, get enough sleep, indulge in a healthy diet, remember your vitamins and reduce your stress;
- Remind friends and family (even young children) to sneeze or cough into the crook of their arm rather than covering their mouth with their hands;
- Consider carrying an alcohol based hand sanitizer for the times you can't get to soap and water;
- Prepare food that you eat with utensils rather than finger foods.
Stay informed about the Swine Flu so you know its symptoms and its severity, its prevalence in your region and what to do if you or a family member becomes sick.
If you live in Alberta and you think you might be sick the provincial government is asking you to call Health Link before deciding to go to a facility. The number is 780-408-5465 (Edmonton), 403-943-5465 (Calgary) or 1-866-408-5465 for all other areas.
Resources for Info:
Health Canada || Alberta Health and Wellness || Center for Disease Control || US Dept of Health || World Health Organization
You can also follow @CDCemergency on Twitter for pertinent updates.