Here comes the crud

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We've had so much sunshine, some people have actually started to complain about the monotony of blue skies and warm temperatures.

Well, all that monotony is expected to be flushed out of North Idaho this weekend, with showers and cooler temperatures heralding the October weather most of us have come to expect.

And not far behind are the bugs. Flu bugs.

October marks the opening of flu season in these parts, a literally sickening seasonal disorder that inflicts its nastiness on vulnerable denizens.

Our message today is simple but important: Please, get a flu vaccination. For adults, they generally run about $30 at most local pharmacies - a small price to pay for a Get Out of Sickbed Free ticket from now through May.

We ask that with no small measure of selfishness included. North Idaho is a hub of small businesses, many with relatively cramped quarters. Our classrooms are typically packed wall to wall, and even our senior centers are densely populated places. In short, human contact is virtually unavoidable, so the healthier you can stay, so might those around you.

Our friends at Panhandle Health District remind us that flu is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and chills. If you've got these symptoms, PHD recommends that you stay home and recover, rather than spread the virus to others.

A few more important steps you can take to stay healthy this fall and winter:

• Wash your hands frequently and rigorously for 30 seconds or more, particularly after sneezing or coughing.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

• Cover your coughs and sneezes or cough into your sleeve.

• If you do get sick, stay home. And if you catch grief at work for missing time, politely remind your boss that you were only doing your co-workers a favor.

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