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Battling the Flu

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Every fall and winter, we face a battle with a hidden enemy - Influenza.  In the past, we did not take this enemy as seriously as we should have.  Not any more.  Recognizing the danger of Influenza, Homestead Village is taking every precaution to keep our community safe and illness free.  The Influenza fight begins with the flu shot.  We encourage every resident and every staff person to be immunized.  To that end, we provide the vaccine to every health care resident and staff member.  All other residents should take advantage of the many options available in the community.  If you are unable to get a flu shot from your physician, pharmacy or grocery store, then please contact the Homestead Village staff to see if we have any vaccine remaining.

The second weapon we possess is proper and frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers.  It is remarkable how many people do not understand the importance of proper hand washing.  The first thing to remember is that the door handles leading into and out of a bathroom and the faucet handles at the sink are both dirty.  Shutting off the faucet with your clean hands reinfects them.  Touching the door handle on the way out of the bathroom also puts the germs of all the other people who may not have washed their hands back on your clean hands!  Use a paper towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.  Use a paper towel to open the bathroom door.  Use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day and especially after coming in contact with items touched by many other people such as money, utensils in a restaurant such as at a salad bar, shopping carts, etc.  Try not to touch your face or rub your eyes.  If you need to cough or sneeze, use your upper arm rather than your hand to cover your mouth.

The third weapon is to limit your contact with others when you are not feeling well.  Every year we can trace serious illness in our health care areas to a family member, staff member or visitor who comes to work, or comes to visit when feeling ill.  It is better not to visit if you are not feeling well.  This year as in the past, we will limit visitors if respiratory illness is found in our health care households.  We will encourage the use of masks to minimize the spread as well.  Staff members, family members and visitors who have not received a flu shot will be asked to wear a mask when visiting or working around residents.

Influenza causes serious illness including death.  Working together and putting the health and well being of others first, we can limit the negative effects of the flu.  Get vaccinated.  Properly wash your hands often.  Use sanitizer.  Limit your visits if you are not feeling well.  Use a mask if you have any doubts.  Let's win this war!