Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What should I do if I have symptoms of swine flu ?

The WHO Director-General has raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6 on 11 June.
WHO has renamed “Influenza A (H1N1)” as “Pandemic (H1N1) 2009” since 1 July 2009.

According to latest update of WHO on 4 September, 182 countries/territories/areas have officially reported over 254,206 cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 including at least 2,837 deaths (

How to prevent human swine influenza?
􀁹 Wash hands frequently with soap and water or apply alcohol handrub.
􀁹 Avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes.
􀁹 Cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
􀁹 Maintain good ventilation.
􀁹 Avoid visiting crowded or poorly-ventilated places. If you must do so, minimise the duration of stay, and consider putting on a mask if you are at risk of influenza related complications.

Persons at risk of influenza related complications
􀀹 Pregnant ladies
􀀹 Children aged less than 6 years
􀀹 Adults aged 65 years or above
􀀹 Persons with chronic illnesses
􀀹 Persons with weakened immunity from diseases or drugs

What should I do if I have symptoms of swine flu?

􀁹 Put on a face mask.
􀁹 Visit one of the designated fever clinics (DFCs) and follow doctor’s prescription.
􀁹 Stay home, in a separate room if possible.
􀁹 Do not go to work or school, and avoid having contact with others until your illness is over.
􀁹 Step up personal and environmental hygiene.
􀁹 Watch out for warning signs that might call for urgent medical attention.

Seek medical care right away if the sick person :
􀀹 has difficulty in breathing or chest pain
􀀹 has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
􀀹 is vomiting and unable to swallow liquids
􀀹 has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
􀀹 has seizures
􀀹 is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
Consult your doctor if in doubt.

What should I note if I care for a sick person with swine flu?
Patients with mild symptoms may rest at home and be taken care of by family members. The following suggestions will be helpful:
􀁹 In caring for the patient
− Assign an adult to take care of the patient to prevent spread of disease to other household members.
− Persons at risk of influenza related complications should avoid taking care of sick persons
− Keep the patient in a separate room if possible.
− Remind/assist the patient to put on a face mask if possible.
− Minimise contact between the patient and the family.
− Remind/assist the patient to take medications according to doctors’ prescriptions.
− Encourage the patient to get plenty of rest and fluid to speed recovery.
− No sharing of linens, eating utensils and personal items between the patient and the rest of the family, unless such items are washed thoroughly.
− Watch out for warning signs that may call for urgent medical attention.

To protect yourself,
− Observe and remind other family members to step up personal hygiene practices.
− Maintain household and environmental hygiene by cleaning with diluted bleach (1 part of 5.25% household bleach in 99 parts of water), especially in areas where the patient stay, to prevent disease spread.
− When coming into contact with the patient (e.g. entering the patient’s room),
􀁹 Wash hands before and after contact
􀁹 Wear a face mask
􀁹 Avoid face-to-face contact with the patient to prevent catching the disease through coughs and sneezes, e.g. when holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.
− Pay attention to your own health condition. If symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath or diarrhoea occur, you must wear a mask and seek medical advice.

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