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100 Hospital Drive, Pender, NE 68047 | Main: (402) 385-3083 | Nurses Station: (402) 385-4066

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Is Swine Flu Coming to a Fair Near You?

You've got the cotton candy, the funnel cake, the ribbons, and the rides. But does going to the county fair also put you at risk for disease? Usually? No. This year? Maybe.

Most of the time, influenza (more commonly known as the flu) will die out as the seasons change and the days get warmer and sunnier. This year, however, experts have confirmed that although flu rates have dropped, they have not disappeared completely. This puts people and animals at risk for developing the potentially life-threatening disease.

It's important to take the same precaution against the flu that you would during winter: Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, be up to date on your vaccinations, and above all, wash your hands.

Summertime, however, brings particular challenges for battling the flu. Higher temperatures make it easier to spread and people are less likely to protect themselves. Plus, there's a lot more to do outside... such as the fair.

Why is the fair such a potential hotbed for flu? One answer is "oink." That's right, pigs are capable of being infected with human, swine, and avian (bird) flu. This is uncommon, but viruses can spread from pigs to people and people to pigs.

Does that mean you should boycott the fair? Not at all. Just be sure to wash your hands well before and after touching any of the pigs. Even better: Just wash your hands before, during, and after being at the fair. Also, carry hand sanitizer. Enjoy the fair without the fear of flu.

Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics are your regional influenza expert. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you have. If you are unsure about any symptoms, please contact us at 402-385-3083.