2007-10-19 / Columnists

Cross Currents

It's Fall Now, But Be Ready For Winter Chills And Sniffles
CommentaryBy Joan Foley Director, American Red Cross Of Greater New York - Queens

JOAN A.FOLEY JOAN A.FOLEY Fall is here and let's enjoy every minute of it before that first significant cold blast knocks us to the ground. Be ready for winter chills and sniffles by following a few basic hygiene tips.

Cover your mouth: Your mother was right all those years ago when she said those three words. Covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze can prevent the spread of illness. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm. Sneezing into your hand will spread germs to everything you touch.

Wash your hands often: Washing your hands is the easiest way to prevent illness and spreading germs. Wash your hands before you eat, when you return home, before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, if you've been near someone who is sick and after touching things handled by others. The cleanest hands are washed with hot water and soap.

Use hand sanitizer gels: Keep a supply of alcoholbased antibacterial hand sanitizing gels or wipes to clean hands when water isn't available. Sanitizing wipes can be used to clean your face and body when extra cleaning is needed.

Keep surfaces clean: Germs are spread when infected people touch commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs, sinks and handles. Keep these surfaces clean to prevent germs from spreading.

Avoid close contact: If you have the flu, stay home to avoid giving it to someone else. Try to stay away from others who may be sick. Germs can be spread from being in close proximity to someone who is ill.

Get a flu shot: Now is the best time to get vaccinated for flu season. The elderly, young children, pregnant women and those who are chronically ill are the most vulnerable and should be vaccinated annually.

Maintain healthy habits: Eat nutritious whole meals, including foods with vitamin C, fruits and vegetables and yogurt. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body well hydrated. Doing this can boost the body's immunity to infections and viruses.

Upcoming Classes And Events: The Red Cross location at 138-02 Queens Boulevard in Briarwood is undergoing some modifications. We hope our safety and preparedness classes will resume during November, or December at the latest. Meanwhile, you can enroll in classes such as CPR and first aid at our Brooklyn location, or at our Manhattan headquarters. Learn what is on the schedule at our web site (www.nyredcross.org), or by calling 1- 877-REDCROSS.

"Prepare New York" is a free 45- minute emergency preparedness presentation that the Red Cross provides to teach residents how to create a plan, build a supply kit, and keep loved ones safe and informed during times of disaster. Upcoming presentations in Queens: Tuesday, November 6, Rego Park Senior Center, 93-29 Queens Boulevard, 10:30 a.m. Thursday, November 8, Queensborough Council for Social Welfare, suite 107, 22-110 Jamaica Avenue, 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 13, Briarwood Senior Center, 139-30 Queens Boulevard, 11 a.m. For information about classes and events, call us in Queens at 718- 558-0053.

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