Simple steps to decrease your risk of getting H1N1 virus

Stay Well! By being pro-active, you can help keep yourself from getting the H1N1 Flu virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are simple steps we all can take to help decrease our risk of getting the H1N1 flu this season. Many of these steps just boil down to good common sense, but it is good to be reminded of the basics:
Public places offer up a wealth of germs, so any time you touch a hard surface, germs are most likely present and will transfer to your hands. The next time you touch your mouth or nose those germs can use that pathway to gain entry and make you sick. So think about it. Doorknobs, shopping carts, elevator buttons, handrails on steps and escalators not to mention bathroom surfaces all can harbor the germs that can give you the flu. Protect yourself from this risk by washing your hands frequently, using soap and water. Carry with you a pocket-sized hand sanitizer and use it any time you feel you may have contacted a germy surface. Consider wearing disposable gloves as an alternative.
Flu virus can also transmitted through the air. It can be breathed in from one infected person to many others simply by a cough or sneeze, where the virus becomes airborne and is breathed in. When you are out in public, consider wearing a face mask or a respirator. The difference between the two is in the protection they offer. A face mask is typically a pleated filtering material, held in place across the nose and mouth by elastic loops over the ears. The level of protection from the flu virus depends somewhat on how well the mask fits on the individual who is wearing it. The cost of disposable face masks is only about 30 cents each. You may have heard about N95 Respirators on the news. These are a disposable, fitted, fluid resistant mask which are effective in blocking 95% of particulate matter and which meet CDC guidelines for exposure control. A box of 20 costs about $40.00. The level of protection best suited for you personally is based on your level of potential exposure. For instance, regular ear loop face masks may be just fine for going out in public places during the flu season, while the N95 respirators are more appropriate for those who work in healthcare facilities, or those of us who are caring for people who have the flu.
If you find yourself caring for someone who has the flu, use extra precautions so you do not catch it. The CDC advises using the N95 style masks when you are with the patient, wearing either vinyl or nitrile gloves while caring for or handling things which the patient has contacted (including eating utensils, tissues, even laundry) and keeping your personal space as well ventilated as possible.
Freedom Medical Solutions is your H1N1 Community Prevention Headquarters. Stop by for informational brochures and many of the products outlined above. We are located on Georgia Highway 85 in Fayetteville. Call us at (678)817-7281 for more information.