In this monthly column, Northside Public Safety Council President David Stacy shares public safety news for Pittsburgh’s Northside.

By David Stacy

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Training via Wikimedia Commons

The Flu Virus

If you watch or read any news, you are aware of the flu virus concern both nationwide as well as locally. The FDA encourages the flu vaccine for everyone, especially the young, elderly, and those most vulnerable, such as persons with an immune deficiency. It is an old wives’ tale that you can get flu-like symptoms from the flu vaccine simply because the vaccine has no living virus in it. However, your arm or the site of the injection can be sore. Even with the flu vaccine, you can still catch the virus, but the symptoms will be way more mild and you will be unlikely to get as sick as you would if you did not get the vaccine.

You can pick up the flu virus and have no symptoms at all for one to four days, but still be contagious to others. The live flu virus can stay on objects such as clothing, gloves, and surfaces such as door knobs and railings for up to 48 hours and can be contracted this way. Once you’ve contracted the virus, the symptoms can include fever, body aches, cough, sore throat, weakness, and fatigue that can last up to seven days. You can, of course, transmit the virus to others during this time. If you do get sick, if there is any way you can stay home to heal and rid the virus from your body, do so. If possible, we encourage you to stay away from the public for your own good as well as the good of others. Without care or rest, the flu virus can develop into pneumonia. Please note that the virus cannot be treated with antibiotics; they would be ineffective. The only way to treat the flu is simply by letting it run its course, staying home, and getting rest. You can use different medications over the counter to relieve some of the symptoms of the flu.

If you are around someone that is sick, their cough or sneeze can infect you with the flu. Germs are usually spread via your fingers to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes. The average person touches their face between three and six times per hour. Try to keep your hands away from your face, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, washing between your fingers to prevent yourself from catching the virus.

Finally, if you feel that you may already have the virus and are showing symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. Stay healthy and safe, and as always, look after your neighbors especially the elderly, disabled, and those who are less fortunate.

David Stacy is the president of the Northside Public Safety Council. (NPSC). Please contact NPSC for more information or details by phone at 412-321-0295 or via email: Regular NPSC meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month starting at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are held at the Manchester Citizens Corporation, 1319 Allegheny Ave., 15233.

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