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swine flu - “What you should know” at a glance

01 May 2009

“What you should know” at a glance

HBDHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Caroline McElnay said people should be aware of what to look for, and what to do, if they suspect they have normal seasonal influenza or are concerned they may have been exposed to the new Influenza A (H1N1), swine flu.

Symptoms of Influenza are:
The normal symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, headache, muscle aches and pains, runny nose and sore throat.

If people have symptoms and have recently returned from North America or Mexico they should:
• ring their GP for advice or
• if they did not have a GP they should phone their nearest medical centre or
• contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.

If people have symptoms but have not travelled to these areas, or been in close contact with someone who has, then they are likely to have a seasonal influenza.

Dr McElnay reminds people that influenza infection is spread by large droplets generated when a person sneezes or coughs. Good hygiene can help limit the spread of influenza and advises people to:
• Wash your hands well, especially after coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose: Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Dry hands well, preferably with paper towels
• Blow your nose into a paper tissue, and put in a bin immediately. Wash your hands.
• Clean surfaces in your home with household bleach (1 part bleach to 4 parts water), especially surfaces touched often such as door handles.
• If you are feeling unwell, stay at home to prevent passing on bugs to other people.
• Contact your GP if you have prolonged or severe symptoms.

The DHB has established its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to manage the health response to the current Influenza A (H1N1), swine flu. This can be contacted on 06 873 2166 or 06 873 2167 or email emergency.response@hawkesbaydhb.govt.nz .Information is also available on the DHB’s website www.hawkesbaydhb.govt.nz

“If people are concerned about their personal, or a family member’s health they should contact their GP, health professional or Healthline. However, if they are concerned about other aspects of the current health alert and the DHB’s response they should contact the DHB’s EOC who will be able to point them in the right direction” says Ken Foote, HBDHB’s Incident Controller.

END

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