Cold, flu not only viruses seen early

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cold and flu season has hit Americans hard early on this year.

But H1N1, seasonal flu and the common cold aren’t the only viruses being spread.

In fact, several viruses that affect infants and young children already have begun making way into pediatrician’s offices.

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Some of these viruses include croup and RSV, and both affect the respiratory system.

Just as the flu season usually runs from November to March, these viruses typically increase in frequency around that time. But local health officials say that everything seems to be getting started early this year, and that they usually see these viruses closer to December. And parents would be wise to take precautions now.

Every day we are encouraged to do our part to help combat against illnesses that can be spread.

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

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you are sick with flu-like illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after you fever is gone except to get medical care.

While you are sick limit your contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

And, parents should keep their sick children at home … away from others.

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of infection.

We cannot stress enough to our readers the importance of taking small, but necessary precautions to keep diseases from spreading.

The 2009-2010 cold and flu season is shaping up to be an early, long and lengthy one. Vigilance and common sense will go a long way toward keeping your family as healthy as possible through the winter ahead.