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Beaver Medical Group

The Choice of the Inland Empire Since 1945

 

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Swine Flu Update

May 04, 2009

For daily updates on the Swine Flu (H1N1 flu), visit the swine flu information page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

If you would to see a map of where cases have been confirmed, visit http://maps.google.com/ and search for swine flu.

 

Many people are concerned about swine flu after reports of some deaths from the virus in Mexico. However, experts advise us that people should not be frightened because the small number of individuals who have been infected in California have had a milder illness and made a full recovery. 

 

Swine flu is thought to spread the same way as seasonal flu: through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may also become infected by touching an object with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose.

 

Protecting yourself from the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Dispose of tissue immediately after use.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

 

What to do if you are sick:

  • Stay at home & rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) 
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Women with the flu who are breastfeeding infants should continue to breastfeed, increase frequency of feedings and consider using a pump

 

Seek medical care if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Signs of dehydration: dizziness, decreased urinations; in infants: lack of tears when crying
  • Confusion or less responsive than usual

 

How to seek care:

  • Call your primary care physician
  • Visit one of Beaver’s Urgent Care Centers in Redlands, Highland or Banning
  • With more serious symptoms, go to a local hospital emergency room

 

Information from the Key Facts page at the CDC: 
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/key_facts.htm

 

Can humans catch swine flu?
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

 

How common is swine flu infection in humans?
In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported. On May 4, 2009 1848 cases had been reported in the United States.

 

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 1841°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

 

How does swine flu spread?
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

 

What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?
There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.