H1N1 Flu and You

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Washing your hands is key to avoiding spreading the virus.

    Around the county, signs are popping up offering flu shots at grocery stores and pharmacies. Many San Diegans are planning on getting the flu vaccine but doctors suggest you plan on getting both the flu vaccine and the H1N1 swine flu vaccine when it’s ready for the public in the fall.

    The most recent data shows there have been 256 people hospitalized with the swine flu in San Diego County this year. Twenty-one people have died.

    The county website has collected a lot of information on their site titled “H1N1 Flu and You FAQs.”  One of the most common questions asked is what to do when a family member is home sick with the swine flu. Should the family member go to work?

    Here’s the answer from the Centers for Disease Control:

    “Employees who are well but who have an ill family member at home with novel H1N1 flu can go to work as usual. These employees should monitor their health every day, and take everyday precautions including washing their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    * If they become ill, they should notify their supervisor and stay home. Employees who have an underlying medical condition or who are pregnant should call their health care provider for advice, because they might need to receive influenza antiviral drugs to prevent illness.”

    Ken Roth, M.D. practices Internal Medicine for Sharp Memorial Hospital and treats patients 15 years and older. He answered several questions from Facebook users.

    If you’re wondering when you should go to the doctor, Roth suggests monitoring your symptoms before rushing to the emergency room.

    “When the symptoms are mild, we are suggesting the patients stay home,” Dr. Roth said. “However if fevers persist, that’s the time to come to the doctor.”

    The warning signs of the swine flu include symptoms like trouble breathing, severe vomiting, confusion, a bluish or gray skin color and when symptoms subside but come back worse.

    Roth was very clear with one point - patients who do not have symptoms should not receive medicine for prevention of the disease.