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Visiting a Nursing Home During Flu Season

Even here in North Carolina, where winter is mild and snow melts almost before it hits the road, influenza is wreaking havoc on everyone of every age. The populations most at risk are the very young and the very old, but even the healthiest people are affected this season.

The latest casualty:  18-year-old Katie Taylor from Cary, NC.  According to an article in the the News & Observer, high school senior Katie was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, but her heart failed and she died on Thursday.

“It was very fast,” Roy Taylor [Katie’s father] said. “I want to make people aware that this is a very serious strain and they shouldn’t take it lightly.” …

State health officials said Tuesday the uptick in cases is likely to continue for another two or three weeks, hitting a high in early March. “There is still time for vaccination,” said Dr. Zack Moore, state public health epidemiologist, adding that a flu shot takes about two weeks for full protection to kick in. Flu shots are still available at many area pharmacies, plus for free at public health clinics.

Our Most Fragile Citizens

While teenagers are vulnerable to serious flu complications, the elderly are at the mercy of every virus they come into contact with. Today, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch offers tips for visiting nursing homes during flu season:

  • If you are sick, don’t visit. As much as nursing home residents enjoy visitors, you may leave behind viruses that linger long after you leave.
  • If you must cough or sneeze while in the nursing facility, cover your mouth with a handkerchief…or use the crook of your elbow.
  • Wash your hands before entering the facility, and before touching your loved one.
  • Use a gloved hand or a cloth to touch common surfaces, such as doorknobs, sign-in pens, or light switches.

For more information about the flu, including prevention and treatment, click here: CDC Seasonal Influenza

To read the full N&O article, click here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/09/976883/teens-death-points-to-flus-danger.html#ixzz1DThfroIt

To read the full Herald-Dispatch article, click here: Tips offered for visiting nursing homes

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