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Tips on preventing the flu
Health advice
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Hasn't this weather been crazy?  You never know what your attire should be for the next day or even if you'll be up and about or miserably sick in bed.
The flu bug is definitely in Georgia and packing a wallop to any susceptible victim who encounters it.
Health officials and your co-workers have one important piece of advice when you're sick -- stay home, don't share your disease! And to help you avoid those nasty germs so you don't get sick in the first place, follow these simple suggestions:
• Do not smoke -- Smoking makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections and complications.
• Avoid close contact with flu victims -- The virus is easily spread in the air, in tiny droplets of infected mucous generated by sneezing. Inhaling these droplets can cause the flu.  And if you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.  
• Do not drink excessively -- Alcohol can lower your resistance to infection. But drinking plenty of water and fruit juice can keep you hydrated and may improve your resistance to infection.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing -- If you don't have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze in your sleeve at elbow. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.  Coughing or sneezing in your hand and then touching door knobs and other surfaces spreads germs and increases the risk that others will become sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth -- Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
• Wash your hands often -- It is important to wash your hands thoroughly and often (for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water). The flu virus can survive in droplets for up to three hours so they can quietly wait for you to come in contact with them.
• Avoid crowds and air travel during a flu outbreak.
• Eat well -- It is  especially important to eat a balanced diet that is rich in zinc and vitamin C.
• Get plenty of rest -- Your body needs  to stay on alert to fight infection. Being sleep-deprived lowers your resistance to infection.
Flu (influenza) is not a minor illness. It is a serious disease that is caused by a virus that spreads from infected persons to others. Influenza can cause fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache and muscle aches. Most people are ill with flu for only a few days, but some get much sicker and may need hospitalization. Influenza causes thousands of deaths each year, mostly in the elderly.
In addition to the flu, there are currently several other fairly toxic "bugs" visiting us. Unfortunately if you catch the flu -- or one of these other little nasty bugs -- another variety will be quick to pay you a visit while your resistance is down.  So take care of yourself.
Most health departments, pharmacies and physician offices still have flu vaccine and you can get flu shots through May. This year's vaccine is composed of different types of dead flu viruses than what we're mainly seeing in Georgia now but there is not a vaccine for that particular form and getting a flu shot will usually lesson the severity of flu symptoms should you get infected.
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