H1N1 Advice for the Holidays

November 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The holidays may be a time for sharing, but not when it comes to the H1N1 flu.Requel Jones and Susan Hansen took advantage of the short lines at this H1N1 flu clinic in Los Banos Wednesday morning to protect themselves from getting sick during the holidays.

"We have a couple of little ones who will be there so the general safety for them too to make sure if we don't have it, they don't get it," said Jones.

"I have a lot of family actually that's going to be here for the holidays and some small children too, so I thought it would be a really good idea to get inoculated," said Hansen.

Health experts say the holidays pose a particular threat for getting and spreading the flu because of large crowds in airports, tight quarters on airplanes, and close contact between loved ones. "It tends to be a time when people get together in close quarters with their families and they're more physically affectionate, a lot of hugging and kissing," said Dr. Maria Martins with Memorial Hospital in Los Banos.

Doctor Martins said even people who have just been vaccinated are still susceptible to the swine flu because the vaccine can take several days to become fully effective. So she recommends anyone hosting a Thanksgiving party take extra safety steps like replacing bathroom hand towels with paper towels.

"One of things you might do along with your party favors is you might get some extra antiseptic wipes like Clorox, they come in a package and just every couple of hours go over some of the surfaces, in the bathroom, especially."

The California Department of Public Health is also urging anyone with flu-like symptoms not to travel. And although it may be hard to miss out on the food and festivities, your family will thank you.


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