Flu cases continue to increase; officials urge care
April 30, 2009
The number of H1N1 flu cases recorded in the United States by Center for Disease Control officials continued to grow in recent days, prompting national health and Army officials to emphasize their advice that people take normal flu-season precautions and be on the lookout for symptoms of the disease.
The World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on April 29. An updated case count of confirmed H1N1 flu infections in the United States and other important flu information is kept at <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/"> the CDC web site</a>. CDC officials report they are working with local and state and international health agencies to investigate this situation.
Officials said people should be on the lookout for regular flu symptoms, which include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with H1N1 flu infection in people. Those with existing medical conditions may see those conditions worsen after contracting H1N1 flu.
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.
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.
CDC officials noted several measures people should take to avoid getting or spreading the disease:
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Wash your hands water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Try to stay in good general health.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Get plenty of sleep.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Be physically active.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Manage your stress.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Drink plenty of fluids.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Eat nutritious food.
A-A?A1/2 [bullet] Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them because germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
H1N1 influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get H1N1 influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.