HUDSON—Columbia has so far not had any confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) influenza virus, commonly called swine flu. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates that there will be more cases and more hospitalizations associated with this new virus in the coming weeks, and the county Department of Health issued a reminder Friday, May 15, about flu precautions and procedures for people who believe they may have the flu.
There are 3,352 cases in 45 states to date, but the county health department believes it is likely cases will be detected in our area as the virus spreads. The state Department of Health Laboratory has an increased capacity to test specimens for the swine flu virus, allowing results to be obtained in 48 hours. Since the virus symptoms have been milder than the seasonal flu, school closure is no longer being recommended when a student contracts the illness.
Swine Flu symptoms are:
•Fever over 100 degrees plus cough, sore throat and runny nose, some may have body aches, chills, vomiting and fatigue.
If you think you have the Flu:
•Stay home! Do not go to work or school.
•Avoid Close Contact with others until you are free of symptoms for 24 hours.
To reduce your chances of getting the flu:
•Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gel.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
•Avoid contact with ill persons.
Even though health officials consider swine flu a mild illness, less serious than the usual seasonal flu, if your symptoms are severe, consult your doctor.