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It’s not too late to get vaccinated: Follow these tips to fight the flu

Flu season has arrived and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year the flu has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

The California flu season is in full swing, although it is not expected to peak until some time next month. There has been an increase in reported cases, and local reports of H1N1 (swine flu) are also on the rise.

You can help prevent the spread of illness — whether it’s a basic cold or full-on flu — by incorporating a few simple steps into your daily routine. These include frequent and thorough hand washing, using hand sanitizer, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, getting vaccinated and, if you do get sick, avoiding contact with others.

Remember that you may already have the flu and be contagious even before you start showing symptoms. According to the CDC, symptoms begin one to four days after the virus enters the body; and healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick.

It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Talk to your primary care physician to schedule an appointment or check with your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies provide this service on a walk-in basis, and many medical plans reimburse for the expense. Check the CDC’s information on the 2013–14 seasonal flu vaccine.

All OP facilities are equipped with automatic hand sanitizer dispensers. If the dispenser in your area is broken, missing, or needs a refill, please submit an iRequest to have it serviced. The Office of Risk Services also provides funding for tissues and surface sanitizing wipes upon request. Please see your department safety officer about ordering supplies for your department. For more information on this program, contact

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