The Sharon Department of Health this week issued a handful of tips for residents in town to help prevention flu infection during a season that has seen more cases than in recent years. The American Red Cross has even stated that flu cases are currently widespread.
Although Sharon officials held three flu clinics this past fall, the Sharon Health Department has exhausted its supply of flu vaccine. However, the vaccine is available at retail pharmacies in the area.
For residents still looking for ways to help prevnt spreading the flu virus this year, the Massachsuetts Department of Public Health has provided an informational website to residents with tips and information on surviving the flu season.
Meanwhile, Sharon Health Director Sheila Miller has offered four actions for residents to take to prevent spread of the virus this season:
- Get a seasonal flu shot each year. The vaccine does not provide 100 percent efficacy, but it does lessen the severity of complications such as pneumonia.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Hand washing should be done frequently, especially after being in a public place. Antibacterial soap is not necessary, as it is the friction of the hand washing that removes viruses, bacteria, dirt, etc. In fact, use of antibacterial products lessen the skin's ability - our body's first line of defense - to fight off infections. Use of alcohol-based hand gel is acceptable in the absence of soap and water.
- Most importantly, stay home if you are sick. According to the DPH, "the flu spreads easily from person to person and should be taken seriously." Please do not expose others if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle aches, etc.
"Buildings are so energy efficient that there is little air exchange and that promotes the spread of viruses," Miller told Sharon Patch. "Remember, you don't get the flu from the cold so you can even open a window for a short period of time."