The fall of 2008 – 2009 was a very bad year for the flu. The peak of flu season is October through February.
Kayla contracted the flu while in the hospital last year. This year I have decided that I am going to do whatever it takes to avoid any illnesses in the 2009 flu season. What follows are all of the actions you can take so that you too can avoid any additional illnesses.
Clean your hands. Hand washing is the #1 action you can take to prevent illness. Every time a person enters a new space, their hands should be washed, before and after meals and each time the rest room is used. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds with suds then rinsed and dried. All of the hands need to be washed, i.e., in between the fingers, thumbs and wrist. We keep nail scrubbers at each sink in our house. It would be a good practice to also try to clean your nails. After washing and drying your hands, a hand sanitizer is used and rubbed into the hands until the sanitizer is completely dry. Sanitizers pick up any residual germs and are never used to replace actual hand washing. 
Avoid close contact. (Taken from the CDC Website) Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. 
I ran a nursery for children 25 years ago and was very lucky to have a pediatrician as an on-call advisor. Here are the tips that this doctor gave me.
Wash down all surfaces with bleach water every night. (This applies to all homes and people of all ages.)
Go to this link to learn all the information on bleach solution for disinfecting.
Small objects (like toys) can be sprayed with Lysol to disinfect. This should be done at the end of each day.
Walls washed with bleach water once a week. Make this a family activity so that it can be completed very fast.
All persons entering your home should immediately wash their hands. This prevents bringing in contaminants.
Nasal irrigation also prevents illness and per one of our doctors “if patients used this method regularly our Emergency Technicians would be out of business.” The Mayo clinic has a video on this information at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nasal-lavage/MM00552
* Wipe the inside of your nose with un-Petrolatum gel. The idea is that this coating captures germs so that they do not enter your lungs. Our physical therapist said that she uses antibiotic ointment inside her children’s noses every morning and they have had less illness as a result. She said this tip came from a bone marrow patient. Another person said they use Vaseline but I would rather recommend a natural alternative to Vaseline that is at this link http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/castorlatum.html
HOW LONG DOES INFLUENZA VIRUS SURVIVE?
- Stainless steel and plastic survived 24-48 hours
- Transferred to hands up to 24 hours
- Cloth, paper, tissues Survived 8-12 hours
- Transferred to hands up to 15 minutes
- On Hands Survived up to 5 minutes
Room ventilation Proper ventilation significantly reduces the concentration of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the air. Opening windows is an easy and extremely effective natural ventilation technique. (Except when living in Florida or Texas during the hot summer months.)
UV Lights It is not commonly known that other wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) lights are germicidal. Certain wavelengths in the UC-C range neutralize flu viruses, along with other bacteria and pathogens such as fungus and moulds.
UV lights are commonly used in hospitals through their air conditioning systems and other areas such as work surfaces, and equipment.
Certain wavelengths of UV-C light damage the DNA or RNA of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Since DNA and RNA carry genetic information necessary for reproduction, the UV-treated microorganisms lose the ability to multiply and cause disease.
Here is a link to a company that sells the UV lights. The price seems good and it attaches to your air conditioner with magnets.
Here is a link to a company that sells portable plug in products with UV lights for disinfecting the air. These are very affordable. http://www.allbrands.com/products/abp14831.html
Although Kayla is not on heavy chemo, we both decided that wearing a mask this year is very important to prevent communicable illness. Our doctors told us that masks are not necessary if her counts are good yet they have also stressed that she is immune compromised from her chemo. After reading the study below we decided that it is far better to wear a mask than to risk any illnesses.
“Wearing a mask can give a person dealing with SARS patients in hospital up to 13 times more protection compared with not wearing one,” says Wing Hong Seto, study lead and chief microbiologist at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong.
However only surgical masks and N95 masks – designed to block airborne particles – will work. These masks protect the face from droplets coughed out by infected people, which the team believes is the primary mode of spread. Seto says droplets are probably the main mode of transmission of SARS outside hospitals as well. “Face masks are best protection against SARS” (Shaoni Bhattacharya – 02 May 2003)
One study shows that when there’s a sick family member in the house, other family members could cut their risk of getting sick by 60% to 80% by using face masks consistently and correctly — in combination with frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with the sick person. (2005-2009 WebMD, LLC)
Surgical and N95 masks were equally effective in preventing the spread of PCR-detectable influenza. A quantitative assessment of the efficacy of surgical and N95 masks to filter influenza virus in patients with acute influenza infection. Johnson DF, Druce JD, Birch C, Grayson ML. Infectious Diseases Department, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.
I found a fantastic website for a mask that can be custom fitted for an adult or child. It is reusable and washable with small replacement filters. This makes for a very affordable mask that meets the government guidelines for N95 masks. Note, this mask has not been tested by the FDA. Here is the website http://totobobo.com/blog/time-for-a-better-mask-to-protect-children/
A United States dealer for the totobobo mask is here www.VincesWoodNWonders.com I recommend this company because they have a telephone number listed and I was able to get my questions answered regarding the mask and filters.
Yesterday we went to Kayla’s school for a meeting. Kayla wore her standard paper mask, (thank goodness) because one of the staff was recovering from the flu and another had it the month before. Our masks from Totobobo had not arrived yet, our only mask was the standard paper one.
One day I went to Kayla’s school and it seemed as if all the kids were sniffling and coughing. This was during Flu season. As usual because of your mask, Kayla stayed healthy the whole time! ”
Predictions for the 2009 – 2010 flu season are very dire and alarming. Frankly, I never paid attention to these statistics before my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I have always taken vitamins as a preventive measure and this action has worked for me.
This year Kayla will be wearing her mask in any public places and I told her that I would wear one also for moral support and prevention. Wearing a mask is such a small price to pay when one considers how dangerous an illness can be for any patient who is immune compromised.
Update: Kayla has worn the Totobobo mask every day since January 2009 and she has not been sick in any way since that time. She attends school every day and no sickness. This despite still being immune compromised. The doctors said that her immune system will not recover from the chemo for another six months. This mask is our safety net that has proven, for us, its workability. When Kayla did not have the mask and went to school she ended up in the hospital for two weeks, every month, for three months, totaling 45 days. With the mask -no sickness, no hospitalizations, no colds, nothing. Your mask is far superior to any other mask on the market. Period! Recently, we let our guard down and stopped wearing the mask, thinking that enough time had passed. She has now been sick for two weeks. No hospitalization, but still sick at home. We have learned the hard way the following lesson- wear mask, no sickness, stop wearing mask, get sick. It is as simple as that. Kayla went 14 months with no sickness while wearing her mask. She will now wear her mask again until flu season is over for 2010 – 2011 season. http://totobobo.com/blog/time-for-a-better-mask-to-protect-children/
I decided against a flu shot for Kayla because of the following reasons:
1. Kayla is chemically sensitive and has had several adverse drug reactions. Some of which were horrible. 2. A rare side effect of the flu shot is Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder, which can cause permanent damage and possible death to the patient. Doctors in England have been warned to watch for this disorder when the new flu shot is released in October 2009. 
“The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has just signed a decree granting vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from any new “Swine Flu” vaccine. Moreover, the $7 billion US Government fast-track program to rush vaccines onto the market in time for the Autumn flu season is being done without even normal safety testing.” 
The flu shot is available in limited quantities without the preservative Thimerosal, which is a fancy name for mercury. This ingredient has been linked to autism. Should you choose to get a flu shot make sure it is mercury free. 
Some states have passed laws making it mandatory to get a flu vaccine.  Here is a website www.vaccinerights.com should you need more information regarding your rights.
The CDC has all the information you need regarding flu shots at http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/protect/keyfacts.htm
Hospital Acquired Infections
• 2 million patients get health care associated infections each year
• 100,000 deaths from health care/hospital infections each year
• $30 billion spent to treat health care/hospital infections each year 
If you do go to the hospital/clinic be extra vigilant for cleanliness of all healthcare workers.
We have learned the hard way that hospitals hold risks to patients through infections and heavy use of medications. Here is a statistic regarding medical drugs. In 1996, 108,000 Americans died in hospitals from adverse reactions to FDA-approved drugs properly administered by licensed medical professionals, as reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the same year, 2.2 million Americans had adverse reactions to FDA-approved drugs.
In a newly released study, the CDC estimates that there are 4.5 hospital infections for every 100 patient admissions and nearly 100,000 deaths from hospital infection. This long awaited assessment, published in the March-April 2007 journal, Public Health Reports, is not yet posted to the public on the CDC’s website.
Consumers Union summarizes the results here.
The study concludes: “These estimates are sobering and reinforce the need for improved prevention and surveillance efforts.” The numbers “exceeded the number of cases of any currently notifiable disease.” http://www.sealshield.com/spotlight.pdf
It takes time, effort, diligence and some money, to really prevent illnesses. It is worth every effort on your part to halt and impede the spread of illness. These actions should become a daily habit for you. Your payment for this diligence is a preservation of your quality of life.
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC Says “Take 3” Steps To Fight The Flu These actions will protect against the new H1N1 too!
2. Telegraph News Report Monday 17 August 2009. Doctors told to watch for Guillain-Barre syndrome during Swine flu vaccination programme Written by Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
3. Now Legal Immunity for Swine flu Vaccine Makers July 23, 2009 09:06 AM EDT By F. William Engdahl
4. Associated Content H1N1 Flu Vaccine Will Contain Mercury August 01, 2009 by Luis R. Miranda
5. Mandatory Flu Shots For New Jersey Preschoolers Article Date: 10 Dec 2007 PDT InterNet Medical News Today http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/91356.php
6. American Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 121, No. 2: 159-167 THE NATIONWIDE NOSOCOMIAL INFECTION RATE A NEW NEED FOR VITAL STATISTICS ROBERT W. HALEY1 2, DAVID H. CULVER1, JOHN W. WHITE1, W. MEADE MORGAN1 and T. GRACE EMORI1