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Update: CDC and Texas State Health Services monitor ongoing response to H1N1

(Aug. 21, 2009)--The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have compiled information to guide state and local officials and school administrators in the ongoing response to the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

CDC and its partners will continuously look for changes in the severity of influenza-like illness and will share what is learned with state and local agencies. However, states and local communities can expect to see differences in disease burden across the country.

According to the CDC, every state and community should balance a variety of objectives to determine the best course of action to help decrease the spread of influenza. Goals include protecting overall public health by reducing community transmission, reducing transmission in students and school staff, and protecting people with high-risk conditions.

>> For a detailed listing of recommended responses to the H1N1 virus for the 2009-2019 school year, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Web site.

>> Read a previous UTSA Today story on the UTSA response to the H1N1 virus.

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Following are the CDC recommended responses to the H1N1 virus:

  • Stay home when sick:
    Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs.
  • Separate those who are ill from those who are not:
    Those who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. CDC recommends that they wear a surgical mask, if possible, and that those who care for ill students and staff wear protective gear such as a mask.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
    The new recommendations emphasize the importance of the basic foundations of influenza prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).
  • Routine cleaning:
    Routinely clean areas that people touch often with cleaners typically used. Special cleaning with bleach and other non-detergent-based cleaners is not necessary.
  • Early treatment of high-risk individuals:
    People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like illness should speak with their health-care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications is very important for people at high risk because it can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems or have neuromuscular diseases.

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General flu precautions

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough; cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of used tissues. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid others with respiratory illnesses.
  • Practice other good health habits: eat nutritious foods, get plenty of rest, exercise, manage your stress and drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you are sick, stay home to avoid spreading illness to others.
  • Visit a doctor if you exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Exposure and symptoms
The infectious period for confirmed cases of swine flu is one day before the onset of illness to seven days after the onset of illness. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu:

  • fever of greater than 100 degrees
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • stuffy nose
  • chills
  • headache and body aches
  • fatigue

Some people with swine flu also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. As with seasonal flu, anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions may be more seriously impacted by swine flu.

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