Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2014 Vol. 61 No. 10

Message From The Chief

I am one of the few members of my family that actually doesn’t scream and run at the sight of bugs (Sorry, Garrett. …just kidding, he really isn’t afraid of bugs, well not much.) ☺

I am however the biggest wimp I know of when it comes to needles…I hate them!  (Which makes for some interesting conversations with my physician wife.)

Flu Season

And, in case you haven’t noticed, more and more we are being bombarded with attacks, hacks, and creepy intrusions to our technology and personal communication devices. 

Bugs, needles, and viruses are all topics in this month’s issue.  #AreYouReady?

Flu Season
October marks the beginning of flu season. Each year in Texas and the US, influenza develops into a wide-spread and dangerous epidemic. And each year thousands of people in the US die from flu-related illness. Texans are not immune.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over six months old get a flu shot yearly, and get it early. It is the single, most important step you can take to protect yourself from this serious disease. Unimmunized people not only risk getting the flu, they also risk spreading the disease among everyone they come in contact with. You can find vaccination locations here.

Every flu season is different, and flu viruses are constantly changing. So it’s not unusual for new strains to appear from season to season. For example, in 2009, H1N1 “swine flu” appeared in the US.  This virus originally jumped to humans from pigs, and people who are around pigs were the only ones vulnerable. But the virus changed in ways that made it possible to pass from human to human.

Although flu vaccines have to be “tweaked” periodically, they are formulated to prevent the seasonal viruses that circulate among people today:  H1N1, H3N2, and influenza B.

Other steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Wash your hands often;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that can become contaminated with germs.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school to help prevent spreading the disease. If you must go out, avoid close contact with other people, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The Texas Department of State Health Services also recommends that you have a plan to care for sick family members at home.

Speaking of bugs …
Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? With all the high-profile data breaches in the news recently, perhaps you should! Identity theft can be a debilitating crime that can take years to resolve. As a nation, we face constant threats to our critical infrastructure and economy.

Cyber Security Month - October 2014

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a number of resources are available to help you, your family, and your business increase your resiliency to cybercrime. You can also get involved and help spread the word about cyber security. You can post safety tips and reminders on your social networks; include cyber security in your blogs; talk to your family about securing all your household devices; and insert NCSAM icons on your Facebook page and email signature.

Look for local events in your area that help you protect yourself and spread the word about cyber security.

Centers for Disease Control - Influenza
Texas Department of State Health Services - 2014-2015 Flu Season
US Department of Homeland Security - NCSAM
staysafeonline.org - NCSAM

Chief W. Nim Kidd, CEM®

Follow me @chiefkidd on Twitter, and you can also follow
Texas Division of Emergency Management on Twitter @TDEM

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