T he Centers for Disease Control reports findings from a phone survey that of H1N1 patients with asthma who later required hospitalization, half of them did not seek medical attention during the progression of the illness. This prompts the reminder that if H1N1 presents itself and the individual has an underlying health condition it is important to contact a health provider as it could present a higher risk of flu complications.
What should you do if you are sick?
1) Stay home and avoid contact with other people. Staying at home means that you should not leave your home except to seek medical care. This means avoiding normal activities, including work, school, daycare, travel, shopping, social and public gatherings.
2) Contact your health care provider if you have severe illness or if you or a family member are at high risk for flu complications. Patients enrolled to Hill Clinic should call (801) 728-2600. Adults should seek emergency medical care if they become ill and experience any of the following warning signs:
>> Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
>> Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
>> Sudden dizziness
>> Severe or persistent vomiting
>> Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
If you or a family member experiences those symptoms please report to the Emergency Room.
Active duty members
What do you do if you suspect you have the flu?
If you suspect you are having symptoms of the flu (temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat):
1. Inform your supervisor and stay home. (Do not go to work and do not go to the clinic)
2. Call the clinic at 728-2600 if your symptoms get worse, afterhours proceed to the emergency room.
3. Keep in daily contact with your supervisor. It is also a first line supervisor's responsibility to remain in contact with their troops on quarters, know their status and ensure the safety of sick personnel assigned to them.
4. Return to work no sooner than 24 hours after your fever is resolved.
How is it being spread?
The main way that influenza viruses are spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.
How can I protect myself now until I can get vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking these everyday prevention actions to "Fight the Flu."
>> 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. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
>> Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
>> Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
>> If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
>> While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
>> Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep your distance from others to lessen the spread of flu.
Seasonal flu shot reminder
With the onset of H1N1 still prevalent the risk of seasonal flu can be overlooked. The 75th Medical Group continues to have seasonal flu mist available to beneficiaries ages 2 and older and to those under the age of 50.
Mary Lou Gorny, Hilltop Times editor, contributed material to this article.