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Homewood Official Says Best Way to Prevent the Flu Is to Be Vaccinated


February 13, 2020

Beth Kephart

In the news on any given day of the week, the flu seems to be the topic of discussion.

What does all this mean and what can we as residents of the Cove do to protect ourselves and our love ones? I sought out the assistance of Beth Kephart, RN, who is the staff development coordinator at Homewood at Martinsburg and certified in Infection Control.

Kephart said Homewood encourages employees, volunteers and residents to participate in the flu vaccine program each season. Flu vaccines are provided at no cost to staff, improving access to vaccines by offering it to staff during working hours for all shifts.

"We strive for 100 percent compliance," Kephart said.

Kephart said policies and practices during the influenza season are followed to minimize potential exposure to influenza. She said during periods of increased influenza activity, steps are taken to minimize visits from the outside community with residents with expected or confirmed influenza.

Visual signs are placed on the doors and in public areas within Homewood, outlining signs and symptoms of Influenza and addressing any limitations on visitation.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines recommend wearing a mask (if not vaccinated) and using hand sanitizer (in addition to regular hand washing) to perform hand hygiene. Both masks and hand sanitizer are provided at each Homewood entrance.

Homewood follows CDC guidelines, Kephart said.

"We work closely with our medical director, and we report all cases of influenza to the Department of Health," Kephart said.

According to Kephart, flu symptoms (Influenza) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

"The flu is different from a cold," Kephart said. "The flu usually comes on suddenly."

According to Kephart, people who have the flu feel some or all of the following symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness).

Kephart said the single best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. Good health habits include covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.


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