You too can have a huge impact. The best line of defense is prevention. Protect yourself and your family with these helpful tips:
- Immunize — Children's fragile immune systems can make them extremely susceptible to illness and communicable diseases. Make sure that your child gets and stays up-to-date on all his/her vaccinations. For vaccination safety information, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety. Additionally, keep your family protected during flu season by getting your flu shot at your physician's office, local Walgreens/CVS, or through the Gila County Health Department. Seniors may also wish to get annual vaccinations for shingles or other conditions per their physician's recommendations.
- Live a healthy lifestyle — Smoking, excessive alcohol intake, or other lifestyle habits can put you at greater risk for illness. Get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Visit our page on Tobacco & Chronic Disease prevention for information on our education program for teens and adults.
- Don't put others at risk — If you are sick — or have a sick child — stay home from work or school to prevent the spread of germs. Avoid grocery shopping, errands, or public events. At home, clean doorknobs, refrigerator handles, microwave buttons, cell phones, remote controls, computer keyboards, and other community-use items with an alcohol pad frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Keep your mouth and nose covered while sneezing. And remember to wash your hands frequently.
- Report any suspicious illnesses — People often dismiss cough and flu-like symptoms as allergies or asthma to put others at ease. If a loved one, neighbor, or coworker is exhibiting high fever or respiratory issues, a lasting or increasingly deep chest cough, red spots or lumps, wounds that won't heal, or anything else that concerns you — especially a sudden onset — offer to take them to their doctor or hospital for evaluation. If they refuse, you can make an anonymous report to Gila County Health Department at (928) 402-8811 or after-hours at (928) 701-1610. Even if the person is not contagious, your call may play a crucial part in easing their suffering.
- In the event of a confirmed case, always follow authority guidelines — Several national and state agencies focus exclusively on infectious disease prevention, outbreaks, and containment and have experts experienced in effectively managing these situations. In the unlikely event of a confirmed case, look to www.readygila.com, ein.az.gov, and www.cdc.gov for support. It is critical to follow all expert recommendations — and encourage your friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same.
Stay on top of national, state, and local infectious disease outbreaks and protocols by visiting: