The recent news on Mexico’s virulent flu strain is important to publicize. Public health depends not just on the preparedness of first responders and hospitals, but individuals taking initiative in their community as well. Our chapter has circulated this message on the situation:
On Sunday, President Obama declared a public health emergency because of the human cases of a new strain of swine influenza infection that has been identified in Mexico, the United States and several other countries with an apparent ability to spread from person to person like seasonal influenza. The emergency declaration sounds more severe than it really is. Much like the emergency declaration made before a hurricane may make landfall, the emergency declaration allows the government to free up federal, state and local agencies and their resources for preventions and mitigations. The CDC recommends following protective measures:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
At this time there are no known cases in Oregon, hospitals haven’t reported an increase in serious respiratory illness, and seasonal influenza cases are declining. That being said, routine prevention efforts are extremely important in decreasing the likelihood of the spread of diseases, including swine influenza. We are following the guidance from the CDC seriously and advocate others to stay home if you are feeling sick. If you come into the office and are sick, your supervisor should send you home. Here is the official American Red Cross message on swine flu. “We are monitoring the situation with our partners at the federal, state, county and city levels and we are encouraging people to follow prevention message from the CDC.” Please visit http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/ for the CDC’s information on swine flu.Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com