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For Immediate Release
April 26, 2009
Physicians and Public Urged to be on Watch for Swine Flu
(Little Rock--) The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has issued an alert to physicians to be on the watch for A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus in humans.
"The Arkansas Department of Health is on alert," said Dr. William Mason, Branch Chief, Preparedness and Response. "We have activated our Emergency Operations Center and are working with state and federal officials to monitor the situation. We are telling doctors that if they see patients with febrile influenza-like illness, they should collect a specimen for testing. We want Arkansans to know that at this time, we don't have confirmed swine flu in our state. However, we are concerned about what is happening in our neighboring state of Texas and elsewhere across the country. The illness that we are seeing in the United States currently is not severe. All ill persons have recovered. There is the possibility that we will see severe illness in the future, and we want Arkansans to be prepared."
Mason provided these recommendations for the public:
The symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to the symptoms of seasonal influenza and include: fever greater than 100 degrees, coughing, sore throat, chills, headache and body aches, fatigue, respiratory congestion, and in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting. People experiencing these symptoms should stay home.
Seek emergency medical care if you or someone you know is having any of following warning signs discussed below.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
People with swine flu who are cared for at home should:
Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food and a person cannot get swine influenza from eating pork products. The infection appears to spread from person to person. Drugs called antivirals can reduce the severity of illness, if taken within 48 hours after symptoms begin. Antivirals are not to be confused with flu vaccinations. Influenza vaccinations prevent a person from contracting the disease. Antivirals help treat people that become sick.
The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.