Although H1N1 levels are declining, it is important to stay vigilant against the spread of the disease in order to prevent a reoccurrence. New Hanover Regional Medical Center encourages everyone to do three things to help stop the spread of the flu:
- If you have not yet received your seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines, contact your doctor or local health department to make an appointment. Vaccines are readily available and are critical to preventing another outbreak.
- People with flu-like symptoms should not come to the hospital to visit. We need to create a cocoon of safety around our patients and limit exposure to illness.
- Keep your immunization records up-to-date. In future influenza outbreaks you may be required to show proof of immunizations, such as an immunization card, prior to entering the hospital or other public places.
Symptoms of the Flu
Flu virus can cause:
- Dry cough
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Treating Flu Symptoms
When to Get Urgent Medical Attention
In children, the warning signs are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish or grey skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Not waking up or interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does ot want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
In adults, the warning signs are:
Self Assessment Tool
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have a self-evaluation tool that can make it easier to decide if it's better to get medical attention for flu symptoms, or stay home to rest and recover. Click on the link to the left to go to their website.
How to Stay Healthy
Who Should Get Flu Vaccines
Everyone older than 6 months is encouraged to receive the seasonal flu vaccine. The risk of infection from H1N1 is less for seniors than for younger age groups. For this reason, the following are encouraged to get both the H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccines:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
- Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
- Persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
- People ages 25 through 64 who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune system
Those who have a severe allergy to eggs should not get either flu vaccine.
If you have more questions about the flu, call Vitaline at 815.5188 or visit www.flu.gov.