If you were unable to make any of the H1N1 Novel Influenza town hall meetings, here are some of the questions and answers:
What is Influenza?
It is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu VACCINATION each year.
What is the difference between Seasonal Flu and the Novel H1N1 Flu?
Seasonal: Viruses have been circulating in human populations for several seasons, allowing people to build up immunity.
2009 H1N1: Most people do not yet have immunity to this new strain of flu.
What is 2009 H1N1 flu?
First detected in people in April of 2009; June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization signaled that a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 was underway.
What is Pandemic?
Pandemic refers to something that is WIDE SPREAD, not how severe it is.
How does the virus spread?
Person-to-Person: People coughing and sneezing, sometimes by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Fever [usually 100º or more], Cough, Sore throat, Runny or Stuffy Nose, Body Aches, Chills, Fatigue, Headache - - - it has been known to make you ‘feel like you have been run over by a truck’.
How severe is 2009 H1N1?
It ranges from mild to severe, most recover without treatment, some do need hospitalization, deaths have occurred.
Compare the Seasonal Flu to the 2009 H1N1:
Mild to severe illness as well as death
200,000 hospitalization annually;
People under 25 years of age
20,000 or 10% are in children under 5 affected more
Over 90% of deaths and 60% of Few cases noted in those over hospitalization are in people older 65 years of age
65 years of age, Pregnancy and other high risk medical conditions – increase risk of complications
How do I Stop the Spread of Cold and Flu?
Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water [think of the Birthday Song] or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, use the inside of your elbow to help control where it goes.
Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you get sick stay home!
What if I have the flu?
Stay home for at LEAST 24 hours AFTER the fever is gone [this means without any kind of aid to bring that fever down]. Get plenty of rest. Drink clear fluids [you must stay hydrated]. Cover coughs and sneezes. Wash hands often with soap and water. Be watchful of emergency warning signs that might indicate you need to seek medical attention immediately.
What are the Emergency Warning Signs?
• Difficulty breathing or chest pain
• Purple or blue lips [meaning that you are not getting enough oxygen]
• Vomiting or can’t keep liquids down
• Signs of dehydration [dizziness when standing, no urination, in infants – a lack of tears when they cry or no wet diapers]
• Less responsive than normal or becoming confused
When should I get the H1N1 vaccination?
The vaccine will be available later this fall - - watch for media information of when.
Most Seasonal Flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccines can be given on the same day (but don’t wait to get your seasonal flu shot until then!!!)
How many of the new shots will I need to get?
Tests have proven that most people will only need one shot of the H1N1. Children under 10 will need to get two shots to build up their immunity. [The second one can be given 28 days after the first]
When the vaccine is ready, there will be a VACCINATION DAY in San Saba County. That information will be in this newspaper and on the radio and everywhere else that we can put it!!! But, once the vaccine is available you will be able to get it at your private provider, also.
For more information, please feel free to contact me at 325/372-8570.