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Swine Flu Precautions Should Be Taken

June 19, 2009

Media Release (For Immediate Release)

Swine Flu Precautions Should Be Taken

As the prospect of swine flu spreading increases, Waitakere City residents are being urged to take a few commonsense precautions and to listen to public service announcements carefully.

Some estimates say that as much as 60% of the population could be affected by the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu.

Derek Battersby, who heads Waitakere City Council’s Emergency Services Committee, says that if large numbers of people need to be quarantined in their homes, then they should have some simple plans in place.

“People should think about stocking the cupboards with good, healthy food to last a week or so,” he says.

And Mr Battersby says that friends, family and neighbours should keep in contact with those who do come down with the illness via telephone and be on hand to assist if needed.

He also urges people to follow Ministry of Health guidelines and suggestions which include:

• Wash and dry your hands frequently,

• Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and dry them for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Wash your hands before preparing food and eating or smoking; after coughing, sneezing, wiping children’s noses, visiting the toilet or changing nappies.

Cover your cough and sneeze
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a bin. (If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve – not your hands.)
Remember to:

• Wash your hands afterwards

• Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Germs spread that way

• Stay away from other people if you or they are sick

If you become unwell:

• Stay away from other people.

• Try to stay a metre away from sick people to reduce the spread of germs.

• Reduce time spent in crowded settings.

Contamination and cleaning
Regularly clean flat surfaces such as bathroom sinks, bedside cabinets, desks and table tops where germs can live for up to 48 hours. Wipe them down with a household disinfectant.

• If you've got flu symptoms:
Stay at home for seven days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.

Meanwhile the council has a pandemic response plan, developed during the SARS and Bird Flu scares several years ago and is monitoring the situation daily.

“The Ministry of Health is the lead agency for the swine flu and along with everyone else we will be taking direction from them,” Councillor Battersby says.

“But we have plans in place to keep critical business services such as water and rubbish collection going and if necessary close public buildings such as libraries and community centres.”

For further information, go to or phone the Swine Flu hotline on 0800 611-116.

© Scoop Media

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