Take care to avoid catching, spreading cold, flu

It’s that time of year again — cold, flu, seasonal allergies … the “crud.” It seems as though there is constantly something going around, whether at school, work, church or even within families. As always during this season, there are a few things a person can do to reduce the chances of getting sick.

Get a flu shot. Wash your hands with warm water and soap, frequently. Some say scrub your hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice — about 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash. Avoid close contact with others who are sick — maybe skip the hug or handshake for a while. Keep your surroundings clean. And eat health, exercise, drink plenty of water and take your vitamins.

If you are sick, stay home, if that is practical. Do not spread those germs at your school or office. (If you can’t stay home, remember to bring tissues and hand sanitizer, and minimize contact with co-workers and other work stations.)

It seems like a lot of extra work, but ignoring all these methods for avoiding illness can be a bigger problem than just the sniffles.

This year, Ohio residents are among those grappling with a mystery polio-like virus, acute flaccid myelitis, which has made its way into Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Mercer and Pickaway counties, affecting four males ranging in age from 1-13 years. None of those cases was fatal, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes this particular illness is rare.

But even more common maladies can lead to big problems for the very young, the old and those with compromised immune systems.

Take steps to take care of yourself this season. You, and everyone around you, will be glad you did.