Stock up on tissues and chicken soup, it's that time of the year again.
And this flu season promises to be an unpleasant one.
Residents not only have to worry about the chills, fever, cough and muscle aches associated with the "regular" flu, but also potential complications from swine flu and resultant pneumonia.
The Lee County Health Department is again recommending flu and pneumonia shots this year, especially for children, adults older than 50, and individuals who fall into certain high-risk categories.
We urge everyone to pay heed: According to health department statistics, in an average year, an estimated 226,000 people are hospitalized due to the flu. Thirty-six thousand die.
Private physicians and various entities, including the health department, offer flu shots. The Visiting Nurses Association, in fact, brings its inoculation clinics to Cape Coral and other areas around Lee County.
Meanwhile, there also are things we can do to help limit exposure in the community.
The biggest thing, of course, is to stay home while exhibiting flu symptoms. The Centers for Disease control recommends that we stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, leaving only to receive medical care or obtain necessities.
This also means limiting contact with others as much as possible, lots of hand washing and covering during a cough or sneeze.
With the added concern of swine flu, this year's flu season prognosis isn't the best. But we can take action to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and we can help mitigate its spread.
- Reporter editorial