Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease. Although it's often confused with other illnesses, especially the common cold, influenza is a much more severe disease. Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. As the virus can be inactivated by soap, frequent hand washing reduces the risk of infection. Flu can occasionally lead to pneumonia, either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia, even for people who are usually very healthy.
While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. Read more HERE.
Adult immunization recommendations can be a bit more complicated than those for children. Childhood immunizations are more or less based on age. When it comes to adults, your job, travel plans, or chronic health conditions may put you at risk of contracting certain infectious diseases and therefore make you a candidate for certain immunizations. You can see personalized recommendations at vaccine.healthmap.org/recommendations by completing a short questionnaire.
Just as you dress yourself in extra layers and winterize your house to protect it from the cold, your carneeds extra preparation to make it through the winter as well. But getting ready is only half the battle. Winter driving conditions also mandate driving differently. Snow and ice need to be taken seriously and prepared for.
Hopefully, by the time winter's first storm hits, most people are prepared with a closet full of heavy coats and boots. This winter, make sure your car is as prepared as you are. Going the extra mile by getting your vehicle ready for winter and learning what it takes to drive safely through ice and snow could save your life.
In this article, we'll tell you what your car needs to make it through winter, what to pack before you take a winter road trip, how to manage snowy and icy conditions, and what to do in the event of an accident.
The storm may blow through in a day, but the lights may stay out for a week — or more. An extended power outage can mean shivering — or sweating — in the dark and, in some cases, can be a threat to your health and safety. The key to staying safe and comfortable during an extended power outage is preparation and knowing what to do when the lights go out. And stay out.
Before the lights go out
Every household should already have an emergency preparedness kit that will meet the needs of you and your family for three days. Much of what you need to make it through an extended power outage will be on hand with the gear on the checklist found at www.Ready.gov, the emergency preparedness Web site of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest utility system serving more than two million customers in three states, recommends putting together a “Lights Out Kit” that includes a flashlight for each family member, extra batteries, battery-powered radio and clock, bottled water, canned food, manual can opener, first aid kit and Sterno or a similar alcohol-based cooking fuel.
Because cordless phones won’t work when the power is out, you should include an old-fashioned corded phone in the “Lights Out Kit.”
Should anyone in the house use electrically powered life-support equipment or medical equipment, be sure to ask your physician about emergency battery backup systems.
Clearly label fuses and circuit breakers in your main electricity box. Make sure you know how to safely reset your circuit breaker or change fuses. Keep extra fuses on hand.
When the lights go out
Pull the plug on motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators and electronic gear such as computers and televisions to prevent damaging electrical overload when power is restored.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. You may want to your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings in advance of the storm. Just remember to reset the temperatures when the storm blows past. Food in the freezer can stay frozen for two to four days, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. During an extended power outage, you can use blocks of dry ice in the freezer.
Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Never use camp stoves, charcoal-burning grills or propane/kerosene heaters indoors. Don’t use a gas stove or oven to heat the house. They all pose the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 400 people a year die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
If you use a portable generator, plug appliances into the generator. Connecting the generator directly to your home’s electrical system can send power up the line and kill a utility repairman working on the power lines. Generators produce deadly carbon monoxide, so be careful when placing it. Never refuel the generator while it is running.