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Public health nurse gives recommendations for staying healthy during flu season

WASHINGTON — Just as students and staff have headed back to school flu season has set in. However, Lynn Fisher, nurse at Washington County Public Health says there are seven everyday strategies everyone can integrate into their routines for keeping germs at bay.

She said one of the most important things is getting a flu shot. With flu activities increasing in Iowa, this is especially important during the winter months when flu season is at its height.

For those who are sick, she says staying home is important to ensure the virus is not spread around. Although people may feel better after a day or two, it is best to wait until the virus is completely out of the system.

When it comes to coughing and sneezing, Fisher said its important to ensure the mouth and nose are covered to prevent the spread of germs. Remembering to take out the garbage is important too. She suggests being careful not to let used tissue pile up because disease can fester.

For those who are at school or work, Fisher said washing hands frequently is very important. She said the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds but students, an easy way to remember how long to wash is by singing the ABC’s.

Soap and water is the recommended method but hand sanitizer is not a bad second choice, she said. The important thing about hand sanitizer is that people remember to use it.

Once hands are washed, Fisher said it’s important not to touch the eyes, nose or mouth. The body is generally introduced to germs because they are picked up on things people touch.

Sharing of utensils and cups is also frowned upon for the same reason, she said.

The final recommendation Fisher makes is getting enough sleep. She said with busy schedules and always a multitude of activities happening, this is often a step people skip but one that is very important to health.

“Not a lot of new messages there, but still really important ones,” she said.