Friday, 1 May 2009

Swine Flu (Or H1N1)

The item below is not of my authorship, but I think it's a very useful piece of information. I was called twice yesterday to people who probably had no more than a throat infection but called ambulances because they were worried about Swine Flu. Remember that the chance of catching it without having been to the affected areas, or in close contact with someone who has, is negligible.... So try not to panic. You'll note that nowhere in the advice given below is it suggested to call an ambulance, and in any case, the advice we've received as Ambulance Staff is that even if we suspect H1N1, unless the patient is critically ill, we should leave them at home!
Happy reading!
Public Health Message
A National Flu line was launched by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to provide information and support for concerned individuals. It is still strongly recommended that anyone who has recently visited one of the countries or areas where human cases of swine flu has been identified, to closely monitor their health. It is advised they do this for seven days after their visit to the affected area. However there is no need for them to isolate themselves from other people as long as they remain well.
If during this period they have a temperature of 38°C / 100.4°F and over and develop a feverish illness accompanied by one or more of cough, sore throat, headache and muscle aches, they should stay at home and seek advice from NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or contact their GP by phone immediately. If anyone is worried, we would encourage them to call the swine flu information line on 0800 1 513 513.
Good hand hygiene can help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza. Other prevention tips include:
• Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible
• Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
• Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people
• Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product
• Making sure your children follow this advice

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