Friday, May 1, 2009
BOH gives advice on swine flu
Media attention is focusing on the outbreak of swine flu in various states across the country. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control are providing regular updates to local health departments. The Carlisle Board of Health will keep residents informed of events as they might apply to Carlisle. Information can be found on the town website at www.carlislema.gov by going to the Board of Health link on Swine Flu. The state has also set up a hotline that can be accessed by calling 211.
Swine Flu is a respiratory disease that occurs in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but CDC has found that this particular virus is being transmitted from one person to another. How easily it can be transmitted has not yet been determined. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Flu viruses are spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people can become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouths or noses.
There is no vaccine to prevent swine flu and it is unlikely that the vaccine for seasonal flu will prevent swine flu. Infected people may be contagious beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick. Antiviral drugs can be used to treat swine flu and prevent more serious complications. Swine flu viruses are not spread by food and you cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products.
The following is general advice to help from getting or spreading any type of influenza: avoid close contact with anyone who is sick; wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes; clean things that are touched often like door handles, telephones, remotes, etc. If you get sick with a flu-like illness stay home from work and school. If you think you might have swine flu and you need to see your doctor, call ahead and let them know you might have the flu. That way, precautions can be taken to avoid the spread of flu to others.
At this time, and until more information on the transmission of the disease is available, residents should not be alarmed. With proper precautions residents should be able to avoid or minimize potential exposures.
[Source: CDC and MADPH Public Health Fact Sheets.]
© 2009 The