EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 10, 2013

Mass. flu season off to early start

18 deaths recorded so far


- Cough

- Sore throat

- Runny or stuffy nose

- Muscle or body aches

- Headache

- Fatigue (very tired)

- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

What to do if you have the flu

- Stay home

- Avoid contact with other people

- Young children, people 65 or older, and people with asthma, diabetes or women who are pregnant, should talk to a health care provider about whether they need to be examined if they get flu symptoms.

- Rest and drink plenty of fluids.

- Children should not return to school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

How to prevent catching and spreading the flu

- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your sleeve to prevent the spread of droplets that can contain germs.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or more or use an alcohol-based hand rub if water is not available.

- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes to prevent spreading germs.

- It is not too late to get a flu shot. If you have not yet received a flu shot you can contact your doctor, your town's health department or your local pharmacy to get one.

For more flu information check the Department of Public Health website -- www.mass.gov.

Source: Rita Casper RN, MBA, District Coordinator for Nursing Services, Andover Public Schools and Mass. General web site.

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