The World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert level to phase 6 on June 11, 2009.


Working in a restaurant means you are going to be in contact with a whole bunch of people. How do you protect yourself?


Well, you could report to work in a nifty hazard suit, costing a paltry $138.50, or you could implement the following precautions:


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information regarding the situation here and offers a section on interim guidance here.

The CDC further suggests the following:


Individuals have an important role in protecting themselves and their families.
* Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes available




* Everyone should take these everyday steps to protect your health and lessen the spread of this new virus:


Note: Items 1 through 3 are must do practices. Wash, wash, wash, and keep your hands away from your mouth and nose while working.



1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. ( Wash your hands immediately after!!! - see #2)


2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.



3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.


4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. (close is defined as 6 feet or less)

5. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.


6. Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.# If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

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Comment by Patrick O on July 29, 2009 at 12:24pm
Hi Paul,

Being from the province of Manitoba, Canada, and from an area which was hit hard by this H1N1 virus where there have already been 7 reported deaths, 51 for the whole of Canada, I'm going to add a few things to your list.

Regarding sneezing.
The practise of sneezing into a tissue and then throwing the tissue away is no longer the accepted norm, more importantly, you should sneeze into your shirt sleeve as this will prevent most, if not all, germs from becoming airborne.

Washing with soap and water is still one of the most effective ways of controlling the spread of viruse. Being vigilant in using hand sanitizers is also of the utmost importance, although what a lot of people don't realize is that these sanitizers can also kill off a lot of useful bacteria, so be very aware of this as well.

The best medicine is to stay informed and be aware of the symptoms.
Comment by tcampos on July 20, 2009 at 1:35am
Hi Paul,

Thank you so much for this informative post. Indeed, it is our personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families from health hazards. This is also very helpful for restaurant managers in maintaining cleanliness not only in their restaurants but also among their staff.

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