The following information was provided by the Lexington Department of Public Health.
Recent disease surveillance reports indicate that confirmed cases of influenza in Massachusetts have been on the decline for the second week in a row. Influenza, known as flu, is a very contagious disease of the respiratory system. The flu is caused by an airborne virus that is easily passed from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.
“Remember, the flu season lasts until early April," said Lexington Health Director Gerard Cody. "It’s too early to tell if the flu season has peaked in Massachusetts. To help avoid spreading the virus, everyone should continue to wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs or sneezes. It is also important to stay home when you are ill to help avoid getting other people infected. For those who haven’t received a flu vaccine this season, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”
People can get vaccinated for influenza through their healthcare provider, at some local pharmacies or by visiting www.mylocalclinic.com to find out more options.
The following tips, in addition to getting an annual flu vaccination can help protect you, your neighbors, friends, co-workers and family during flu season:
- Wash your hands. Frequent hand washing with soap, warm water and disposable paper towels is best. Alcohol based hand sanitizer is also an effective means to clean your hands.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw tissues away and wash your hands. Staying home when sick also helps to keep the illness from spreading.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. This decreases the chance that you will get the flu virus or other germs into your body, or that you will pass the flu to others.
- Clean surfaces that are touched often. Clean things that are touched often, such as door or refrigerator handles, computer key boards/mouse phones and water faucets.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick. Avoid unnecessary contact like holding, kissing or sharing food, dishes and cups with anyone who has a cold or the flu. People with young children, weak immune system or a chronic illness should avoid large crowds, if possible.
For more information or to receive a free copy of “Caring for People at Home, Flu – What you can Do.” please contact the Office of Community Development, Health Division, Gerard Cody, Health Director at 781-862-0500 x 237. You may also visit, www.flu.gov/ or www.mass.gov/flu. This important message was brought to you by the Lexington Board of Health.