From staff reports
U.S. and state health officials announced Sunday that they are investigating reports of swine flu infections in five states, including one involving a 9-year-old boy from Lorain County, Ohio.
Because this combination of strains of the influenza virus is new, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reminded Ohioans of the precautions they should take to avoid exposure. As with all newly emerging flu strains, no vaccine has yet been developed, a bulletin from the state health department noted.
"I urge Ohioans to be alert to information about this new flu," said ODH Director Alvin D. Jackson. "In addition, the tried-and-true saying about washing hands and covering one?s cough remains sound medical advice."
The boy, whose diagnosis of a mild case of the flu was confirmed Sunday, is recovering at home.
Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe.
Symptoms of this swine flu virus closely resemble seasonal flu, and include fever, weakness, coughing and lack of appetite.
The ODH said in its bulletin that officials are working with health care providers and hospitals around the state to determine if there are other cases. According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all health care providers who see patients with flu-like symptoms and learn that the patient traveled to Mexico, affected counties in Southern California or Texas during the seven days preceding their illness onset, should have nasal swab samples from the patient tested. Recommendations from the ODH and the CDC include:
- 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.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, see your doctor and the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Additional information is available on the ODH and CDC Web sites at www.odh.ohio.gov and www.cdc.gov/swineflu/. The Ohio Department of Health will provide additional updates as information becomes available.
If you have a concern about exposure or have symptoms described above,
you should see a medical provider immediately. For information on Student Health Service (SHS) hours, visit www.ohio.edu/hudson/shs/.
If you experience symptoms outside of SHS hours, you should visit the
O'Bleness Memorial Hospital emergency room.