Swine flu information

04/28/2009

As of Sunday, 4/26/09, a small number of human cases of swine influenza, a virus infection, have been identified in Mexico and five states: California, Kansas, New York City, Ohio and Texas. There have been no confirmed cases in Wisconsin.

Bellin Health is closely monitoring the situation and working cooperatively with state officials. Precautionary preparations are underway.

To Protect Yourself and Others
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

· Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

· If you get sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

If You Suspect You Are Infected
The Wisconsin Division of Public Health has established the criteria for who can be tested for swine flu. Individuals must have signs and symptoms characteristic of influenza (cough, fever, body aches, sore throat) AND have traveled to an area where there are confirmed cases of swine flu within seven days of the onset of illness OR they have been in contact with ill persons from these areas in the seven days prior to the onset of signs and symptoms.

If you meet these criteria, contact Bellin Health at 920 445-7373 to make an appointment with a health provider.

Common Questions and Answers

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.


Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used.

What are the signs I need urgent care?
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
· 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

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting

Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.