Flu season is harsher this year than previous years. The American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic urges everyone to take healthy steps to weather the flu season.
Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to help prevent influenza. Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults and seniors. Parents of young children should know that children 6 months through 8 years of age receiving a flu shot for the first time need two doses of vaccine, approximately one month apart, for optimal protection.
Along with getting vaccinated, warding off influenza is as simple as washing your hands. Germ control during flu season is crucial to keeping yourself healthy. During flu season make sure that you:
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Visit www.facesofinfluenza.org for more information about influenza and immunization and keep yourself healthy this flu season.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brown is president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, which includes West Virginia.