About swine origin flu and taking preventive steps
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We all have heard this week about a virus spreading across the continent and overseas called swine origin flu. Cases in North America are believed to have started in Mexico, where most of the cases have affected those involved in swine farming. Milder cases are reported in the U.S. and Europe, though health officials are urging greater awareness of the disease – and how to prevent it – around the globe. In Illinois, there are at this point nine confirmed cases of swine origin flu – five in Chicago, and four in collar counties surrounding Chicago.
Rockford College’s Lang Center for Health and Wellness wants you to know that swine origin flu is an illness caused by a virus that originated with swine but can be spread person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, headache, chills, fatigue, and occasional nausea or diarrhea. Local and state health departments are working diligently to increase awareness of this flu and encourage us to use good common sense strategies to prevent getting and spreading the swine origin flu. There are many things you can do to prevent getting and spreading the flu:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your own nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Stay home if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed earlier.
- Maintain good health with adequate nutrition, sleep, exercise, hydration, and stress control.
Rockford College students who have flu-like symptoms should go promptly to the Lang Center. Rockford College employees are urged to see their personal physician. The latest information from our local health department encourages specific screening only if these symptoms are accompanied with a history of contact with an infected person or travel to an affected area. Anyone in the college community who has been diagnosed with the flu should also contact the Lang Center for appropriate follow-up.
If you have questions about this illness, call the Lang Center for Health and Wellness at 815-226-4083. Further updates will come to you via e-mail as warranted.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
Winnebago County Health Department: www.wchd.org