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    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Swine Flu Public Health Emergency –What To Look For; What To Do.

    A public health emergency was declared today in the U.S. as 20 cases of the disease were confirmed in this country. The Centers for Disease Control, in a news conference in Washington stated, “We expect to see more cases of swine flu. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking at the same news conference called the emergency declaration a “declaration of emergency preparedness.” However, experts at the WHO will wait until Tuesday before meeting to decide if it should increase its rating of the seriousness of the pandemic potential from the current level three to level four - which would indicate a "significant increase in risk of a pandemic.” Officials said they had confirmed eight cases in New York, seven in California, two in Kansas, two in Texas and one in Ohio, and that the cases looked to be similar to the deadly strain of swine flu that has killed more than 80 people in Mexico and infected 1,300 more. This was amid further reports of potential new cases from New Zealand to Hong Kong to Spain, raising concerns about the potential for a global pandemic. Canada also confirmed six cases of the flu. Swine flu was also likely in 10 New Zealand students.

    The symptoms of swine flu are nearly identical to the symptoms of other influenza, including high fever, aches, coughing, and congestion. It appears to spread through human-to-human contact and human contact with live pigs but not by eating pork products.

    WHAT TO DO if pandemic is declared by WHO
    -Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1)
    • Wash hands frequently

    • stay home

    • don't board airplanes, if you feel sick

    • Keep sick children out of school.

    • Use Facemasks

    • Avoid close contact (less than about 6 feet away) with the sick person as much as possible.

    • If you must have close contact with the sick person (for example, hold a sick infant), spend the least amount of time possible in close contact and try to wear a facemask (for example, surgical mask)

    • An N95 respirator that fits snugly on your face can filter out small particles that can be inhaled around the edges of a facemask, but compared with a facemask it is harder to breathe through an N95 mask for long periods.

    • Wear an N95 respirator if you help a sick person with respiratory treatments using a nebulizer or inhaler, as directed by their doctor.

    • Respiratory treatments should be performed in a separate room away from common areas of the house when at all possible.

    • Used facemasks and N95 respirators should be taken off and placed immediately in the regular trash so they do not touch anything else.

    • Avoid re-using disposable facemasks and N95 respirators if possible.

    • If a reusable fabric facemask is used, it should be laundered with normal laundry detergent and tumble-dried in a hot dryer.

    • After you take off a facemask or N95 respirator, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

    • Ask your doctor whether you are a candidate for Tamiflu or Relenza.

    • Do not take any drugs or medications prophylactic ally without your doctor’s permission.

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