Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Health Department offers advice about flu

Tennessean September 2, 2009 Symptoms of H1N1 influenza also known as swine flu have been similar to seasonal flu, according to Brian Todd of the Metro Health Department. The flu may include fever, muscle aches, and either cough, sore throat or runny nose. Headache, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea also may occur. Most people who are ill will recover on their own and do not require specific testing or treatment. Todd says parents are urged to use the same judgment about seeking medical care that they would during a typical flu season - do not seek medical care if your child is not sick or if symptoms are mild. If your child has a fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, please contact the child’s doctor for guidance before going to a clinic or emergency room. Please seek emergency assistance if your child experiences any of the following: * Fast breathing or trouble breathing * Bluish skin color * Not drinking enough fluids * Not waking up or not interacting * Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held * Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough * Fever with a rash Young children and pregnant women are priority groups to receive H1N1 vaccine because they are at increased risk of serious complications from flu. “Even though the risks are relatively small, extra caution is important for those at higher risk,” said Dr. Paul. Health Department officials remind all adults and children to take the following precautions: * Avoid close contact with people who are sick. * Cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue. * Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. * If water and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. * Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. * Get the seasonal flu shot, which is now becoming available locally. * Children and adults who are sick should stay home if they have symptoms of fever (over 100 degrees F) and cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea. Ill persons should not return to school or work until 24 hours after they are free of fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines. *Get the H1N1 flu shot when it becomes available—currently projected for Mid October.

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