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County smart on swine flu

Swine flu may not be grabbing the headlines it was earlier this year but that doesn’t mean the risk is gone.

Health officials are urging families to seek a vaccine for this strand of the virus as well as getting shots for the seasonal flu.

H1N1 — what is commonly referred to as swine flu — is a more dangerous version of the flu that we see each year.

As of last month, more than 1 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the illness and nearly 2,000 deaths have been attributed.

In the U.S., 8,843 have been hospitalized and 556 have died.

These may not sound like significant numbers to some people but even one loss is too many if it can be avoided in the first place.

Because children are among those most at risk, the Lawrence County Health Department is sending letters along with an informational flyer to the parents or guardians of all school-age children in Lawrence County.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends these precautions to prevent the spread of swine flu and other illnesses:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Taking these matters seriously is the first step toward avoiding an epidemic or spreading illness.

We applaud the Lawrence County Health Department for taking a pro-active approach toward this rather than just sitting back and waiting for problems to arise.

Common sense can go a long way toward staying healthy but a bit of prevention can go make all the difference.