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updated: 11/4/2013 6:17 AM

Your health: Is the flu in your neighborhood?

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  • Prepare yourself for the impending flu season by knowing who has it in your neighborhood.

      Prepare yourself for the impending flu season by knowing who has it in your neighborhood.

 
Daily Herald report

Is the flu coming?

The warnings have already begun: The flu season is on the horizon. If you want to know how close that horizon is to your front lawn, WebMD has a map that will tell you, says The Washington Post.

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Its cold and flu map -- available this year through WebMD's mobile site -- can tell you the prevalence of flu in your neighborhood. Using a combination of geolocation data and symptom information reported by WebMD users, the map pinpoints sickness hot spots, labeling them mild, moderate or severe, right down to the ZIP code.

This map is not the only program of this sort -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers similar information on its flu tracker site, as does Google's flu trends site. But WebMD says its information, updated weekly, is more current than that used by the CDC, which "uses physicians' reports after patients seek treatment." (The WebMD map is based on patient reports, which are arguably less reliable than doctor diagnoses.)

The WebMD site offers tips on how to stem the spread of infection.

Setting boundaries

Difficult relationships are far more than a nuisance; they can cause anxiety, burnout, clinical depression and even physical illness.

Healthy relationships at work can propel you to great heights of achievement; dysfunctional or toxic ones will tether you to mediocrity. Relationship expert Van Moody, author of "The People Factor," outlines four ways to set healthy boundaries with toxic people at work:

• Manage Your Time: Set a limit on the amount of time you spend beyond the hours needed to be around the toxic individual. Rigidity douses the flames of collegiality but blurred lines lead to confusion and frustration.

• Express Yourself: Reveal aspects of your personality that will reinforce your values. Sometimes it's a matter of letting people in a little bit to help keep your boundaries intact.

• Play Your Part: Everyone plays a role: the victim, the brown-noser, the star, the slacker, the go-to guy. Build your reputation, and do it carefully and consistently. It's important that others know what you stand for and what to expect from you.

• Change the Conversation: Hanging out or working in close quarters or for long periods of time sometimes blur the lines. To help you stay focused say, "Let's focus on finishing the task at hand instead of the latest gossip so we can get home."

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