This message comes from Dr. David Lakey, Commissioner of Department of State Health Services and Commissioner of Health for the State of Texas.  His message applies to every person in every state that is affected by the H1N1 influenza strain.  We want to pass along Dr. Lakey’s advice to Texans:
“We wanted to share with you some basic principles you can utilize to protect your health. Obviously, there is a lot of concern out there related to what we hear in the media with this new swine flu, but we want to put that in perspective, and again give you some tools to use to protect your health.  Every year we have seasonal influenza. We’re used to that. We take our shots to help protect us, and seasonal influenza is dying out this part of the year. Unfortunately, there is this new strain, and our hope is like the seasonal influenza it will also go away, but we can’t count on that. So we need to do things to protect our health.
There are very simple tools you can use to protect your health. First, flu is spread when we cough on each other. When we cough on our hand and we touch our mouth and touch our eyes, we can spread the disease. So it’s very important right now that if you are coughing, to cover your mouth and cover your nose.  It’s also very important to wash your hands. We spread diseases by our hands. If you don’t wash your hands, you can pass on germs or pick up germs and then touch your eye or mouth and you can become infected.
It’s also very important that we stay home when we are sick. A lot of us go to work no matter what condition we’re in. This is not the time to do that. If you’re sick you need to stay home. It’s not time to go for your perfect attendance record at school. It’s not time to worry about sick leave. If you are sick, you need to stay home. If you don’t, you could spread this to other individuals.
It’s also very important that you understand that throughout the state of Texas, we’re taking some specific measures to prevent the spread of this disease into your community. In communities where we have identified swine flu, we’re asking the communities to do specific steps. We’re asking them – at certain times when they have the disease in their schools – to close their schools. We’re asking them to implement their Pandemic Influenza Plan so we are ready, and the community is ready, for whatever comes their way. We’re working with health care providers throughout the state so they know what they need to do in order to protect your health.
Again, I appreciate your time. Again, I advise you to do those basic precautions to protect your health, wash your hands, cover mouth when you cough, cover your sneeze, and if you are sick you need to stay home.”
Texas Department of State Health Services