Take steps to stop the flu

The 2013 Flu season is well underway, and hospitals and schools across the state are reporting an above-normal number of cases.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that all people age 6 and older be vaccinated for the flu. While the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it can help prevent you from becoming infected.

Each year's seasonal flu vaccine contains protection from the three influenza viruses that are expected to be the most common during that year's flu season. The vaccine is typically available as an injection or as a nasal spray.

Whether or not you’ve been vaccinated, the CDC recommends you take additional steps to help avoid the flu. These include:

• Wash your hands. Thorough and frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent many common infections. Scrub your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds. Or use alcoholbased hand sanitizers if soap and water aren't readily available.

• Contain your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inner crook of your elbow.

• Avoid crowds. Flu spreads easily wherever people congregate — in child care centers, schools, office buildings, auditoriums and public transportation.

By avoiding crowds during peak flu season, you reduce your chances of infection.

Stay healthy!