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Battle swine flu with hygiene

Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to get down to fundamentals. Over the past few days, media outlets—including newspapers—have focused on the developing story of swine flu. Reporters have filled news segment after news segment to the subject that is very worthy of coverage. But not panic.

In today’s story by The Advertiser, local health officials offer a calming tone to the outbreak that has been reported in a few states but not Alabama.

They have offered calm, sage advice on the fundamentals of personal hygiene and all of the things our mothers tried to teach us.

Things such as: cover your mouth when you cough, use a tissue when you sneeze, wash your hands before dinner, wash your hands after using the restroom.

In today’s fast-paced society, it is easy to get away from the fundamentals of anything, but news of this swine flu outbreak is a bright reminder that we should never shy away from the fundamentals of good hygiene.

State health officials say that swine flu cases will likely come to Alabama. This flu version will likely hit every state, but the good news is that our health officials are prepared and capable of handling it.

The cases so far in the United States have been well tracked, well treated and mild. No one has yet died from the swine flu. But it is nothing to take lightly.

“Even though the U.S. cases so far have been mild, the severity of the disease in Mexico is worrisome,” said Alabama health officer Dr. Donald E. Williamson Sunday, referring to the deaths reported in Mexico from swine flu. “It is likely swine flu cases will occur in Alabama, since there are already cases in various states and they do not appear to be linked to each other. Persons should take steps to reduce their chances of contracting influenza.”

Now is not the time to panic, now is the time to do our part to help stop the spread of this disease.