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Arkansas Now Up to 5 Deaths from H1N1


Kharra Skye Davis, 6, has become the latest H1N1 fatality in Arkansas. The Hot Springs first grader died from H1N1 Monday, September 7, at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Yesterday her parents Daniel and Becky Davis confirmed the cause of her death. They expressed their disbelief of how quickly the H1N1 virus took their healthy, vibrant little girl.

The parents are quoted as saying Kharra begin feeling ill on Saturday with a low-grade fever. The fever progressed to 105 by Sunday evening. She was taken to the hospital where the first nasal swab for the flu came back negative so she was sent home. Back at home, she became lethargic and had trouble breathing. Her parents took her back to the local hospital. Kharra was airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where she was placed on life support.

James Phillips, M.D., Branch Chief, Infectious Disease has confirmed that five Arkansans have died this year from the 2009 H1N1 flu. The first death in the state from the H1N1 flu was reported on August 10. Kharra becomes the fifth.

H1N1 is especially difficult for children and young adults (6 mo to 24 years), pregnant women, and anyone with underlying medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes). It is recommended that these groups be among the first to receive the H1N1 vaccination when it becomes available in October.

Symptoms of seasonal and H1N1 flu are the same and can lead to complications, including pneumonia or other life-threatening complications. The symptoms include: fever greater than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, sore throat, chills, headache and body aches, fatigue, respiratory congestion, and in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their physician or other health care provider for advice.

In the meantime, you are urged to take the following actions to stay healthy:

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· Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water to lessen the spread of illness.

· When hand washing is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

· Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing and sneezing, then wash your hands. Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve is also acceptable, but not into your hands.

· Stay home if you are sick. You should stay home until you are feeling better and after fever is gone for 24 hours without taking fever reducers. While you are sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

· Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.

· Get a seasonal flu shot each year and when the H1N1 influenza A vaccine is available in Arkansas, get a shot.

Flu Information On the Net:
* Flu information: http://www.flu.gov
* National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
* www.healthyarkansas.com , or call the ADH Hotline, 1-800-651-3493.