An initiative launched a few years ago in Utah asked how we would operate if most of our workforce was home fighting the flu. We took it to heart at the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, setting up an annual flu clinic to provide flu vaccinations and take other precautions.
In recent weeks, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named Utah one of the hardest hit in the latest flu outbreak that made its way across the country, we’ve been on the job to help you through the fever, coughing, and/or sore throat, as well as muscle aches and fatigue. Water plays a key role in preventing further complications and in controlling the spread. Do what’s needed, now, to put this strain to rest!
• First and foremost, stay hydrated. Drinking water is probably the last thing you want to do right now but it’s important, especially for the very young and the elderly. Fortunately, most are not experiencing the vomiting and diarrhea traditionally associated with the flu. But we sometimes don’t drink enough water during the winter because we’re not feeling as thirsty, though our bodies still need it. Always keep a glass of water close, even if you’re just sipping it throughout the day. If you’re too weak to use a cup, use a straw or squeeze bottle, or suck on ice chips or an ice pop. If you notice dizziness, confusion, a rapid heartbeat and/or breathing, or low oxygen levels, seek immediate medical care.
• Wash your hands… often! After running your hands under warm water, add soap and vigorously rub your hands together for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice) before rinsing them off with warm water. Dry with a towel that only you use, and if you have more than one bathroom in your home, designate one to those who have the flu and the other to the rest in the household.
• Use your dishwasher. Your hands can’t take the high temperature needed to kill germs – around 140 degrees Fahrenheit – that your dishwasher’s heater core pumps out. Remember to wash your hands after handling the dirty dishes. You’ll also want to launder anything that comes in contact with the flu patient, such as bedding (including blankets), towels, washcloths, and clothing.
• Here’s a comforting blast from the past. A washcloth dampened with cool water and draped across the forehead soothes the feverish brow. Sometimes, it’s a simple gesture from childhood days that brings the most comfort.
While the most recent CDC report shows numbers declining in Utah, it is still important to take this very seriously and do your best to prevent spreading it further. Even with precautions, it’s affected our district family as well, and we hope, in meeting your water needs, we can all put this behind us.