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Flu Season Is Here, What Should You Do?

Flu Season Is Here, What Should You Do?

fluYou have probably heard about the Seasonal Flu, Bird Flu, Swine Flu (H1N1).  But, what should you do to help prevent the spread of the virus or even worse, catching it yourself?  According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), you should fight the flu with the 3 Cs. 

Number one, COVER YOUR COUGH.  You should either do this with a tissue or cough into your elbow.  Just by coughing into your hands will cause the spread of germs as soon as you touch something.

Number two, CLEAN YOUR HANDS.  Use soap and water or hand sanitizer.  There are many hand sanitizers on the market and they are very inexpensive.  Especially if you consider the cost of being off work for a week.  You might even keep a tiny bottle (usually cost $1) in your pocket.

Number three, CONTAIN GERMS.  Stay home when you are sick.  It doesn’t do anyone any good if you go to work sick.  Most likely you will pass your germs on to someone else either in the air or on a surface.  That’s how you got it to begin with.  Someone else that was sick (they may not have even known at the time) sneezed, coughed, or touched something and transmitted the germs to you.  Don’t do the same to someone else!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) goes more in depth and offers another word of advise; get a flu vaccine.  They have vaccines for the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu, both flus are easily spread and can make you very sick.  In some cases can even cause death!  If you are not sure about a vaccine and whether you should get one or not, please contact your health care professional.

For more information about the seasonal flu, swine flu, or any of the flus visit the CDC website or  Or for more local information, visit the Scott County Health Department.  It’s better to be safe than sorry!

October 13, 20090 comments
Consumer Tips for Holiday Shoppers

Consumer Tips for Holiday Shoppers

Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, has released the following information to help consumers during this holiday season. Have a look to see how you can stay safe when shopping…

The holiday shopping season is by far the busiest time of year for most shoppers and retail stores — and the season also generates more than its share of consumer problems.  Why?  Most likely, it’s because of the sheer volume of purchases, because many consumers are in a rush, and because people will make more gift returns and exchanges than during other seasons.  It’s a very important time to be a smart shopper.

How to avoid consumer problems:

Buying Online:   Be sure to shop with reputable companies.  Make sure the seller lists an address or toll-free number, just in case you have a problem.  Be sure purchases are refundable in case you are not satisfied.  Get all details on shipping and handling fees, refund and return policies, and complaint procedures.  Print out and keep records of your purchase.  Use only “secure” web sites.  Pay by credit card (not by check or debit card) so you can dispute the bill if necessary.  Find more tips on “Internet” shopping at (click on “consumer protection”), or at

Returns and “layaways”:  Be sure to know a store’s policy on returns and layaways before you make a purchase, especially in these times of tighter credit.  Remember, there is no state law that requires stores to give a refund, exchange, or credit for merchandise returned or taken off layaway — unless the store advertises that it accepts such returns and refunds.  (Consumers also may seek a refund, exchange or credit if an article is defective or was misrepresented.)   Remember, Iowa’s three-day-right-to-cancel law only applies to door-to-door sales, or sales made away from a seller’s usual place of business.  In short, most refund and layaway policies are up to individual retailers.

Receipts:  Always keep receipts.  Most stores will not make refunds without them.

Mail orders:  If you order gifts by mail or telephone or over the Internet, you have certain protections.  Federal law requires the seller to ship your purchase within thirty days, unless the offer or advertisement specifies a later date.  If there is a delay, the seller must notify you, give you a chance to cancel your order, and send a full refund if you choose to cancel.  Don’t send cash.  The safest way to pay for mail order purchases is by credit card.

Gift cards and certificates:  If you’re thinking of buying a gift card, check the store’s policy.  Find out if the store will give a credit or cash return if the purchase price is less than the value of the gift card or certificate, and check any other terms on the card.

To file a complaint or get more information, contact the Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, IA 50319.  Call 515-281-5926, or toll-free at 1-888-777-4590.  On the web:

November 24, 20080 comments