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Singing to the Drain

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Having been fortunate enough to attend an “Avian Flu Summit” about two years ago, where not only state and local authorities offered wisdom but also representatives from the CDC and the US Surgeon General’s office, I feel relatively competent to offer some common sense advice I learned from them with regard to safeguarding your health, as well as those you love, from possible influenza infection. 


The influenza is spread by respiratory droplets. Interestingly and surprisingly, the droplets from a sneeze travel at upwards to 100 mph, for an average length of eight feet. Here are some common sense habits you and your family can adopt in order to keep yourself healthy—during this flu season and any future flu seasons. 


  1. First and foremost is hand washing—frequently. Teach your loved ones to rub hands together vigorously (to create friction) while singing the happy birthday song (about twenty seconds). If washing hands in a public facility, grab a paper towel prior to turning on a faucet and use the paper towel to do just that. Once the hand washing is completed, grab a fresh paper towel, dry hands, and then use that towel to turn off the water. Use that same towel to open the restroom door, then discard in the nearest garbage bin.
  2. Don’t go to work or school when sick.
  3. Cough and/or sneeze into your shoulder. That is a better method to catch respiratory droplets than to cough or sneeze into your hand (and you can use this method even when your hands are full!).
  4. Avoid shaking hands during the flu season.
  5. Do not touch hands to face, especially to nose and eyes.
  6. Avoid people who are obviously sick with a respiratory illness, especially when in a crowd.
  7. Keep alcohol wipes handy to wipe off the mouthpiece of a public phone.
  8. Get plenty of rest and eat healthily. 


I hope these simple tips can become good habits in keeping yourself and your loved ones “in the pink.”

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