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‘Swine flu’ isn’t in news but it hasn’t gone away

H1N1 (formerly known as “swine flu”) is still around. West Virginia has 179 confirmed cases, and Kentucky has 136 cases.

As of today, there have been a total of 144 confirmed cases in Ohio, including three in Lawrence County.

Two cases were in early spring, and the third one was a little more recently. The three cases remained in their homes during their illness and all have recovered.

It is important to remember that H1N1 is flu and the symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza which include fever of 100.5 or higher, weakness, sore throat, cough and lack of appetite.

Some people have also reported vomiting and diarrhea. Because influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people, Centers for Disease Control recommends that you stay at home and avoid contact with others if you become ill.

If symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider for further recommendation.

A vaccine is being developed to protect against H1N1 flu and may be available in the fall.

In the meantime, there are things that can be done to help prevent the spread of germs.

If you are sick, don’t go to work, don’t go shopping. If your child is ill, do not send him or her to school or daycare.

In addition to staying home when ill, practice good personal hygiene, including covering nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing the tissue in the trash after it has been used.

Cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.

CDC recommends washing hands at least 15-20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to avoid spread of germs. Avoid or limit contact with those who are ill. Good nutrition and getting enough rest are also very important.

For further information, please contact us at 532-3962 or visit the CDC Web site at www.cdc.gov..

Debbie Fisher, RN, Lawrence County Health Department