The current situation:
• The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed several cases of the H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu) in Georgia.
• Swine flu is continuing to spread in our country, with new cases being reported daily.
• Flu viruses spread rapidly, and just as we see with seasonal flu, we should expect the number of people and states affected to continue increasing for some time.
• The World Health Organization has raised its Pandemic Alert Level to Phase 5 (out of 6). This phase is generally a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and the time to prepare is now.
Swine Flu information:
• Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs that does not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur. This current strain of swine flu has begun to spread from human to human, causing illness.
• Spread of this current strain of swine flu virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
• The symptoms of swine flu in people are often similar to regular seasonal flu 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.
• You cannot get swine flu from eating pork. Swine flu viruses are not transmitted by food. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
• There are two antiviral drugs which may be used to treat or prevent swine flu. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses.
What you can do:
• If you are ill and have traveled within the last 7 days to an area affected by swine flu, or if you have been in contact with someone infected by swine flu, contact your health care provider immediately. Or, if you are ill and your symptoms are severe, or if you are worried about your symptoms, contact your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
• Practice good hand-washing and hygiene habits to prevent the spread of viruses. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread that way. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
For more information about the current investigation, including the number of confirmed cases, visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control or click on the links in the widget below.
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