You'd think it would be a simple enough proposition: If you're sick, stay home! Yet we know that some who come down with the ''flu'' will be tough and ''gut it out'' by going to work or, if a parent, by sending little Johnny and Susie off to school.
It may well be too late to keep the H1N1 ''swine flu'' virus under control, but for those of us who have not been affected, the least we can do is try.
Controlling the virus is as simple as washing your hands and not touching your hands to your face, nose or eyes. Really, if the bug can't get in, it can't affect you.
Many area facilities have waterless hand sanitizers readily at hand, so to speak, so finding a way to keep your hands flu-free is relatively easy. When you make it home, make cleaning up part of the arrival process.
You'd think that simple hygiene, using lots of soap and water, would be an easy way to combat the flu, but you have to make it an integral part of your day-to-day activities.
Rest assured, healthy people usually recover from H1N1 without medical treatment or long-lasting effects.
But if you do come down with the flu, stay home so you don't spread the virus and follow the regimen suggested by health officials: Take fever-reducing medicines, drink lots of fluids and get rest. The symptoms - fever, sore throat and body aches for four to six days - are your guide to when you might be able to return to the workplace and school. Stay home until you feel human again without those symptoms.
There are, however, some signs that require emergency medical care right away.
In children, warning signs include fast breathing or trouble breathing; not drinking enough fluids; not waking up or not interacting; being so irritable that the child does not want to be held; flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough; and fever with rash.
In adults, watch for difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion and/or severe or persistent vomiting.
Remember, think prevention first. And if you do come down with the flu please, please stay home to prevent the spread!