Be Prepared In Case Of Swine Flu
School has started and the reports of swine flu are already causing worry among parents and teachers. There are concerns about attending events like the State Fair, football games and other gatherings where there are large numbers of people. Here are some things that you can do to decrease your own fears and also to increase your chances of staying well.
1. Get your seasonal flu shot as soon as it is available.
o Seasonal flu can be serious for infants, seniors, and people with a weakened immune system. The CDC reports that 36,000 people per year die in the US and 200,000 are hospitalized due to the seasonal flu. Get your flu shot because it is your best protection.
2. Follow the basic CDC precautions
o Wash your hands frequently
o Keep several hand sanitizers like Purell available for family use.
o If you are ill or have flu-like symptoms, stay home and avoid others until you have no fever for at least 24 hours.
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
o Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
o Dispose of used tissues properly.
o Keep your hands away from your face, nose, and mouth.
o Teach children these precautions as well as good hand washing techniques.
3. Stay at least 6 feet away from people with a flu-like illness
4. Don’t count on a face mask to protect you.
o If you do wear a face mask, use it properly.
o A face mask should be worn once and then discarded.
5. Plan ahead in case your child or someone else in your family becomes ill.
6. Child care should be arranged ahead of time in case of a school closure.
o Check into your employer’s sick leave policy. Have any provisions been made in case of swine flu?
7. Stock up on soup, juices, tissue, hand sanitizers, soap, disinfectants.
8. Use a household disinfectant liberally.
o Clean kitchen counters, door knobs, appliance handles, toys, etc.
In Case Of Illness
1. Keep the sick person isolated and away from others.
2. Disinfect everything the ill person uses.
3. Dispose of contaminated tissues properly.
4. Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water.
5. Use good hand washing.
6. If you use a face mask, use it correctly.
7. Keep disinfectant hand sanitizers for the patient and family to use.
When To Seek Medical Attention
If you do become ill, don’t rush to the Emergency Room unless you have certain symptoms. Contact your physician first.
1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
2. Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
3. Persistent, severe vomiting
4. Sudden dizziness
5. A persistent high temperature that lasts more than 3 days
6. If flu symptoms improve but then return with fever and congested cough.
1. Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
2. Bluish or gray skin color
3. Failure to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration
4. Severe or persistent vomiting
5. Increased lethargy
6. Increased irritability and resistance to being held
7. Improvement followed by return of flu symptoms with congestion or cough
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for complications as well as people with underlying health conditions and should seek medical attention promptly if they become ill.