Flu fight heads into the New Year
By Jason Winders
January 07, 2013
With classes returning in the heart of flu season, the Western community is turning its attention to prevention.
By all reports, flu season arrived early this year, and brought with it a spike in cases across the country. As of mid-December, Health Canada confirmed 3,500 cases of the flu, compared to just 182 the previous year. In London-Middlesex County, 111 cases have been reported.
However, those numbers are expected to grow as three flu outbreaks in two weeks have hit London hospitals, including University Hospital on Jan. 2.
Western’s Health Services staff stresses getting a flu shot remains one of the most effective ways to prevent catching and spreading the flu virus.
Students can book appointments for free flu shots by contacting Students Health Services, University Community Centre (UCC), Health Services, room 11, at 519 -661-3030. Staff and faculty can book appointments for free flu shots by contacting Workplace Health, UCC, Health Services, room 25, at 519-661-2047.
Beyond the shots, there are some basic steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of catching the flu.
“It’s an old saying, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Nicole Versaevel, Health Services health promotion manager. “We tend to overlook the simple steps we can take, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle in this fight. For instance, washing your hands is very basic, but it’s very effective. “
Among the advice being offered by health officials:
- Know the symptoms – cough, fever, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches and tiredness;
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Keep your hands away from your face;
- Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand;
- Keep common surface areas clean and disinfected; and
- If you get sick, stay home.
“You can help yourself by following these steps,” Versaevel said, “but you can also help others by not spreading the illness.”
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