Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fighting the Flu Pandemic

My friend, Susan, tagged me to write about the flu pandemic. She finds it a serious subject. Me too! I can catch the flu and have done so lots of times. You can catch it too. It is never a fun thing to have.

Work places are good places to catch the flu. I'm not claiming any prizes for the education system here but schools are some of the best. Every year sick children are sent to school by their parents because the parent can't get a sitter and doesn't want the kid home. Kids don't know from hygiene. They cough and don't cover their mouths. They don't wash their hands frequently. They swap all kinds of things which can carry the flu virus on it. There is a persistent rumor in public schools that new teachers get sick the most frequently. That might be true. My first year in public education I caught cold after cold and at least twice there were flu symptoms.

There are things you can do to prevent the flu. You can get a shot. These used to require a visit to the doctor. Not anymore. I can get mine at the pharmacy at my local grocery store. Yep, run to HEB, pick up milk, bread, and a flu shot. There are free flu clinics if you are a veteran. Just go to your local VA clinic and ask about getting a shot. Lots of intelligent companies now get shots brought in to their employees. Many don't charge for this either as it saves them tons of money in absenteeism.

If you aren't sure where to go get a flu shot the National Lung Association has a web site that will help you find one. Just go here. To help you learn how to prevent the flu the Center for Disease Control has also put together a web site here. If you catch the flu there are some things you can do to help get over it more quickly and lessen the symptoms. Once again the American Lung Association comes to our aid with this web site.

There are lots of other things you can do to help prevent the spread of flu. Get your shot. Wash your hands frequently. This is always a good idea but especially if anyone you come into contact with is sick. Take a good multivitamin so that you don't get sick. My second year in education I took vitamins daily and hardly had a sick day that entire year even though lots of the kids were sick. If you get sick, STAY HOME! Don't go to the office where you can spread it around. Your body needs the rest and your co-workers will appreciate you more for not getting them sick than they will for you coming to work because you think your company can't survive without you.

Now a warning about getting the flu vaccine. Follow the precautions that the experts have announced and advertised. These are vital to your safety. An acquaintance of mine died from her flu shot. She was elderly, had just gotten her shot, and went to take her dance lesson which she loved doing. While on the dance floor with her instructor she collapsed and wasn't able to breath. The really sad thing was that no one at the dance center knew CPR so we were helpless to do much for her till the ambulance arrived. By then it was too late.

All that being said, please take good care of yourself, do what you can to keep from catching the flu and if you find the time and heart to be generous, help someone else get a flu vaccine too. They, God and the rest of the world will thank you for that act of kindness.

Now, in the interest of spreading this information and also in the interest of the health of our children, I tag my good friend JSD because she is a mother and her wife is also a mother and a teacher.

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