Sharing isn’t always the right thing to do

Flu season promises to be a real bugger this year, and local health officials are nervous.

Begging Kitsapers to get vaccinated and keep their germs to themselves, health professionals are calling down the thunder this year. It’s likely to get bad, they say.

It’s not just the normal, please-somebody-put-me-out-of-my-misery flu, it’s the flu formerly known as swine, which has changed its name to an odd series of initials: H1N1. This year’s strain has health professionals proposing a double-shot vaccine: one for the regular flu and one for the H1N1.

Though there is little difference between the symptoms of swine flu and the regular flu, because it’s a new strain most have not built up an immunity to it yet. And once you catch it, it hangs around.

“For most people, it will feel very much like the usual seasonal flu,” Scott Daniels, deputy director of the Kitsap County Health District, said. Symptoms for H1N1 include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Illness has ranged from mild to severe, and most people have recovered without needing medical treatment. However, some hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.

For more information, attend the community meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Poulsbo Fire Station, 911 NE Liberty Road.

To be safe, get vaccinated. To be sure, be sanitary: Wash your hands frequently; throw away used tissues; don’t share drinks or food; and keep your hands away from your face.

If you get the flu, stay home. If your child gets the flu, stay home with them.

Though health officials are planning for the worst, a few precautions can prevent the worst-case scenario.

Let’s be careful out there.

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