|  April 18, 2014  |  
Overcast   40.0F  |  Forecast »

Staying Healthy in the Face of Flu Season

Take charge to stay health through flu season and all year long

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Keeping yourself, your family and co-workers healthy may be easier than you think, as long as you adhere to a few simple steps, according to Californians for Patient Care. The nonprofit patient advocacy organization is highlighting preventive care and safety in advance of the upcoming flu season.

"While flu season happens once every year, reducing and eliminating the spread of infectious diseases is a year-round concern"

"While flu season happens once every year, reducing and eliminating the spread of infectious diseases is a year-round concern," said Carmella Gutierrez, president of Californians for Patient Care. "It may surprise many of us to learn that the simplest things - many of them the same steps we do during flu season when our awareness is heightened - can help keep us, our families and our co-workers healthy and free from infectious disease all year round."

Californians for Patient Care recommends adopting the following behaviors:

  • Wash your hands frequently: Don't limit your frequent hand-washing to flu season - wash them several times a day year-round. Influenza and whooping cough are year-round dangers. Also, don't be afraid to ask your healthcare professionals to wash their hands during an office visit or consultation.
  • Get recommended vaccinations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides recommendations on vaccinations for both children and adults (www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/default.htm). Californians for Patient Care suggests you refer to these vaccination schedules and talk to your healthcare provider about getting your vaccinations up-to-date.
  • If you're sick, stay home: School children and employees are used to hearing this suggestion, but it's also applicable to anyone visiting someone in the hospital. Most patients admitted to the hospital have weakened immune systems (due to their illness), so the last thing they need is a well-meaning, but sick friend or relative coming to visit, and potentially prolonging their stay.
  • Take medications as prescribed: It is important to take all medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals. Doing so gives your system enough time to battle the illness you're suffering from, but failing to do so may weaken your system to further infection.

When trying to assess the need for adopting these behaviors, Californians may want to consider the following:

  • The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, but especially before, during and after handling food; after using the bathroom or changing a diaper; before and after caring for anyone who is sick; and after touching animals or garbage. Using hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol is an effective addition to keeping hands clean but not a replacement for washing hands with soap and water.
  • Following the vaccination schedules recommended by the CDC can protect adults and children from contracting more than a dozen infectious diseases. Many of the deaths that resulted from California's whooping cough outbreak in 2010 were infants younger than three months who were too young to receive the pertussis/whooping cough vaccine. This emphasizes the need to vaccinate all people who come in contact with those whose systems are the most susceptible to infection.

"Californians for Patient Care believes that people play an important role in establishing and maintaining their own health. Comparatively speaking, it takes a little time and effort to adopt these simple, healthy behaviors and the impact to individuals, families, workplaces and communities is tremendous," said Gutierrez. "The health of your community may be greatly improved by adopting these basic preventive measures."

Californians concerned about the affordability of recommended vaccinations or other healthcare services have access to the state's largest database of low- and no-cost healthcare facilities at www.calpatientcare.org. After typing in basic search information such as city or county and category of resource, Californians can find a comprehensive list of local healthcare providers that provide primary, dental and mental healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured.

Along with information on local healthcare service providers, Californians for Patient Care also provides information on patient rights, chronic disease management, how to shop for health insurance, information on new research studies and links to helpful organizations and websites.

Californians for Patient Care is a nonprofit organization based in Sacramento dedicated to protecting the interests of patients and ensuring all California consumers have fair and equitable access to high quality healthcare. For more information, visit www.calpatientcare.org.

Add your comment: