Sanitizer coming to public areas

Fears about the spread of swine flu have led to the purchase of hand sanitizer for hundreds of recreation centers around San Francisco and several swimming pools.

The cash-strapped Recreation and Park Department ordered more than 200 dispensers to be put near the entrances to its six clubhouses, 20 recreation centers and
several pools.

The distribution is part of a citywide plan with the Department of Public Health to make hygiene a bigger priority during the school year and because cases of confirmed swine flu (aka H1N1 virus) are still increasing.

“The Department of Public Health is coming up with an overall strategy and this is just our piece of it,” Rec and Park spokeswoman Lisa Seitz Gruwell said.

But some park advocates are not pleased with the effort.

Miriam Moss — who lives across the street from Glen Park, which has a recreation center and gymnasium — said she doesn’t understand what’s wrong with telling people to simply wash their hands.

“They’re supposed to have soap in bathrooms. I just think it’s the public’s responsibility to wash their hands,” Moss said. “I really don’t think it’s something that should be handed out.”

Tips on how to avoid the flu

– Cover nose and mouth with tissue when coughing/sneezing
– Wash hands often with soap and water; if soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based sanitizer
– Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth
– Avoid close contact with sick people
– If sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home at least 24 hours after fever is gone

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention:
– Fast breathing or trouble breathing
– Bluish or gray skin color
– Not drinking enough fluids
– Severe or persistent vomiting
– Not waking up or not interacting
– Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
– Flu-like symptoms improve, but return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention:
– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
– Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
– Sudden dizziness or confusion
– Severe or persistent vomiting
– Flu-like symptoms improve, but return with fever and worse cough

People who are at a high risk:
– Pregnant women
– Those with pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes
– Adults with HIV/AIDS

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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