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H1N1 Tips- How to Deal with H1N1

People – young and old alike – can take measures to protect themselves and those around them from the H1N1 virus.

In recent days, care providers have seen evidence of a “downswing” in the number of flu cases, said D’Anna Stekli, BS, CIC, Mt (ASCP) Infection Control and Prevention Coordinator at Upper Valley Medical Center.

“We are hoping that we’ve seen the worst of it. We are not sure yet. We are hoping that with people getting vaccinated and practicing good hand washing it is starting to make a difference,” she said.

Among H1N1 tips offered by Stekli are:

The vaccine and its safety:

Stekli said the H1N1 vaccine is made exactly same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. Had the H1N1 virus emerged on the scene a couple of months sooner, the H1N1 vaccine would have been incorporated in the regular seasonal flu vaccine and people would be getting one injection and not two.

The risk of dying from H1N1 infection is “substantially higher than the risk of serious complications” from getting the vaccine, Stekli said.

Remember: It takes two weeks for full immunity to be developed once you are vaccinated. People with children under age 10 who are vaccinated need to get the child vaccinated a second time four weeks after the first vaccine in order for the child to be fully protected.

Good hygiene

“Hand washing is the most effect way to prevent the spread of disease,” Stekli said. Because a lot of children do not have good hand washing habits, parents are advised to teach their children to wash their hands and at the same time sing a song, such as the ABCs song, in their head or out loud in order to spend adequate time at the task.
Children also should be taught to cover their coughs and sneezes.

Stay home

If you are sick and for at least 24 hours after the fever has left without using any fever reducing medications.

“People have to think of others and think ‘Would I want to be side by side with that person if they are coughing and sneezing?’” Stekli said.

She said most cases can be managed at home with plenty of fluids, rest and fever- reducing medications, as appropriate. For those with a condition such as asthma or diabetes a phone call to the doctor’s do is a good idea.

When to go to ER:

If you develop, shortness of breath, wheezing, a bloody cough, painful breathing, chest pain with a history of heart disease, inability to walk or sit upright, or become confused or exhibit abnormal behavior.

For more information, go on line to www.miamicountyhealth.net Off Site Icon and www.cdc.gov/flu Off Site Icon.

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