Hygiene can help with flu bug

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Three simple letters can spell utter agony when they strike — F – L – U.

Perhaps second only to an intestinal parasite on the scale of problematic, but not terminal ailments, the flu is right at the top.

The bug — and a few others, strep, stomach ailments, etc. — has plagued our area for several weeks.

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Doctors’ offices and hospital ERs are busy trying to cover all their patients’ needs, and the needs are many right now.

Some business owners are struggling to keep their doors open when the bug comes knocking. This can be especially painful for small, mom-and-pop businesses that simply don’t have the staff or resources to cover easily when a few of their people are out.

Across the country the flu bug is getting worse, experts say.

Flu vaccines are always a bit of a shot in the dark — scientists attempt to “predict” which strains of the virus will be most prevalent.

This year, they made poor guesses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts say the current vaccine is only effective at warding off approximately 40 percent of this year’s viruses.

Since Sept. 30, when the season officially is marked, 10 children have died of the disease, including three in Mississippi.

That’s an incredible fact. Unfortunately, the flu claims lives every year.

But what, if anything, can we do to prevent the spread of the flu virus, especially if this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as effective as we’d hope?

Simple, remember a key lesson from kindergarten: wash your hands.

Experts say that simple act, repeated often, can be a lifesaver.