May 1, 2009
As we all know by now, CDC has implemented an emergency response because of the H1N1 viral outbreak that has infected one hundred and nine people and caused one death of a 23-month toddler in Texas who was visiting from Mexico. The virus was first identified in April 2009 and is easily transmitted to humans. Although one might be tempted to respond with panic, it is much more productive to remain calm.
The good news is that a full-court press effort has been initiated bringing together CDC scientists to exchange pertinent information with public health emergency response partners. An international committee is also involved because of the potential of the viruses’ transmission through visitors and travelers. According to CDC, emergency medications and personnel can be transported across the country within two hours of notification and within six hours for an international flight. All 50 U.S. states and territories have already received the necessary medication and protective equipment in the event of an outbreak. At last count, there were no cases reported of infected pregnant women.
Although pregnant women and children are particularly susceptible to infections, the following CDC recommendations will help you stay healthy:
- 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, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleansers are also effective because they immediately reduce the number of germs
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick. Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Store a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
A cough, sore throat, running nose, muscle aches and a temperature of 100°F or greater always needs further evaluation. These symptoms usually resolve within three to five days however, if these symptoms become rapidly worse, testing for the swine flu should be done immediately by a state public health laboratory.
The current treatment for the swine flu are antiviral medications called zanamivir and oseltamivir and should be started within 48 hours of suspected infection. As a precaution, pregnant women are sometimes admitted in the hospital for a minimum of five days.
The most reliable source of information regarding this outbreak is not what you will hear or see in the media but what’s on the CDC website. I encourage everyone to visit http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu for further information and will continue to provide updates through my blog until this crisis is over.