Influenza A H1N1

  • Published
  • By Maj Gayl Siegel
  • Public Health Officer
What you need to know:
The H1N1 Influenza (or "swine flu") is a human influenza virus that is responsible for an outbreak that originated in Mexico and has spread to the U.S. and 9 other countries. It is spread from person to person by direct contact (touching the nose or mouth and then shaking hands) by touching contaminated objects (like doorknobs) and by airborne contact (coughing or sneezing). It is not caused by or spread by pigs or pork. There have been 331 confirmed cases worldwide of this particular H1N1 strain of influenza as of 1 May 2009; 141 of those were diagnosed in the U.S. There are no confirmed cases of H1N1 in Iowa at this time, but there have been seven cases in neighboring states (MN, IL, NE). The CDC and World Health Organization are recommending heightened awareness and general precautions, but are not recommending travel restrictions or quarantine at this time.

What you need to do:
· Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer: before & after eating, after using the restrooms, after sneezing or coughing, after touching surfaces that come into contact with other people (doorknobs, phone receivers, etc.)
· Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your nose and mouth; sanitize hands after contact.
· Clean or sanitize areas that come in contact with multiple people (doorknobs, phone receivers, computer keyboards, etc.)
· If you are sick, stay home, or (if only mildly ill) limit your contact with other people (keep at least a 6 foot distance). Consider that staying home will help you recover and be back to work sooner as well as prevent the spread of viruses, even if you just think you have a cold.
· If you are running a fever over 100 degrees and have a cough or sore throat, call your doctor to determine if you need to be examined.

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