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Flu Prevention: Best Defense Against H1N1

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Just like the healthy tips your mother gave you, McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) recommends practicing good hygiene habits as your best defense against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has changed directions for H1N1 testing for persons with mild flu-like symptoms and will focus its testing efforts on hospitalized patients with severe illness. MCDH joins IDPH in asking the public to follow the three C’s as you would for the regular flu season – CLEAN (properly wash your hands frequently), COVER – cover your cough and sneeze and CONTAIN (contain your germs by staying home when you’re sick).

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The County’s first probable case of the H1N1 virus was reported earlier this week; officials expect to receive confirmation by CDC shortly. MCDH will continue to monitor this changing situation and provide the latest information to protect its residents at www.mcdh.info. Fact sheets, frequently asked questions (FAQs), posters and links to IDPH and CDC websites (in English and Spanish) can also be found. The Department of Health has activated its call center (815-334-2800, M-F, 8am-4:30pm) – along with Centegra (877-Centegra or 877-236-8347) – to address community concerns.

MCDH has received its shipment of medical supplies from CDC’s strategic national stockpile sent to local health departments and hospitals. Guidance for usage is limited to treatment only by prescription. For many of the probable cases reported state-wide, symptoms have been mild and recovery at home has been recommended. Reducing the spread of the H1N1 virus is the primary goal. If you have a cough, fever (greater than 100 degrees), sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, and have recently traveled to Mexico (or an area with known swine flu cases) or been exposed to someone who is ill, contact your doctor. Nationally, CDC reports 141 confirmed cases and 1 death.

With 15 countries reporting cases of the H1N1 virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the pandemic alert to Level 5 (widespread human-to-human transmission) signaling the need for response and mitigation efforts. An influenza pandemic occurs with the appearance of a new virus against which none of us has any immunity. This results in several, simultaneous epidemics worldwide with high numbers of cases and sometimes death.