Health officials set the record straight on seasonal flu Published Jan. 29, 2009 18th Wing Public Health Office KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Military and Okinawa Health officials are working together to reduce the spread of seasonal flu. An article published in the Jan. 29 - Feb 04. Japan (Weekly) Update titled "Prefecture sets plans against flu epidemic" is misleading and may stir some questions. The following information was confirmed with Dr. Itokazu at Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) Public Health Services as well as the Okinawa Times Newspaper. It seems Japan Update was trying to translate a Jan. 25, 2009 Okinawa Times article in which officials introduced their new Pandemic Influenza Response Plan. The Okinawa Times article briefly mentions Pandemic Influenza preparation, such as quarantine, school closures, number of illnesses, including potential deaths. The bits and pieces from the OPG CONPLAN published in the Japan Update article are not associated with this year's seasonal influenza outbreak. We are currently in our regular flu season. Our recommendations are to follow the normal guidelines to prevent the spread. This includes the following: 1. Get the flu shot 2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance from others so they don't catch your germs 3. If possible, stay home from work or school and don't do errands when you are sick 4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or cough into your sleeve or elbow 5. Washing your hands often 6. Germs are often spread by contact. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth 7. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the base Public Health office at 630-4520, your medical provider, or go to www.cdc.gov.