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Public Health Department Offers Guidelines If You Become Sick with Flu Symptoms - Nov. 4, 2009

posted Nov 9, 2009, 2:29 PM by Santa Clara County Public Health Dept
San Jose, Ca. – Over the next few weeks, supplies of the H1N1 influenza vaccine will continue to be limited. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department (PHD) has been informed that 85 Santa Clara County private and public medical providers will be receiving vaccine this week, but the quantities are still going to be limited.

“With limited supplies of the H1N1 flu vaccine, it’s important for those of us who are healthy to wait until the vaccine is widely available,” said Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor. “Most healthy people who get sick from this virus will recover without any medical care. But people who are at risk for complications could end up hospitalized or worse, so it is very important to get them the vaccine first.”

Due to limited supplies of the H1N1 vaccine, the PHD is recommending the following groups get the vaccine first:
  • Pregnant women
  • Children and young adults between the ages of 6 months and 24 years
  • People who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months
  • Adults between the ages of 25 and 64 years who have medical conditions that put them at risk for serious illness and death from the H1N1 flu virus
  • Healthcare and emergency service care workers
The PHD will hold a clinic for the groups listed above on November 7th at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. People not in one of these groups are being asked to wait until more H1N1 vaccine is available. Other public clinics with very limited supplies of the vaccine are listed on the department’s web site.

Since many Santa Clara County residents have been unable to get vaccinated and are concerned, the Public Health Department has provided the following guidelines about what to do when sick with the H1N1 flu and when to seek medical care.

Conduct a health check every day. If you or your child begins to show flu-like symptoms, stay home from school or work and monitor the illness. H1N1 flu symptoms can come on quickly and usually include fever (over 100 ºF), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and extreme tiredness. Many people who have been infected with the H1N1 virus have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.

Get plenty of rest and make sure to drink lots of water and other clear liquids. You can treat fevers and aches with over-the-counter flu medicines. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Stay home until you no longer have a fever for at least 24 hours – without taking any fever-reducing medications. Most healthy people who get sick with H1N1 will recover without medical treatment.

If you are in one of the following groups, you should contact your medical provider at the first signs of flu-like illness and talk to them about getting antiviral medications:
  • Pregnant women and mothers with infants less than 2 weeks old
  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • People with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems
  • People younger than 19 years old and on long-term aspirin therapy
  • People over 65 years of age
The Public Health Department has provided guidelines to the local medical community to treat these groups of people with antiviral medications. Antiviral medications (pills, liquid, or inhaler) decrease the ability of flu viruses to reproduce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antiviral medications should be started within two days after becoming sick. When used this way, these medications can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and prevent serious flu complications.

If you are a healthy person and get sick with the flu, call your doctor right way if:
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • You have shortness of breath
  • You get dehydrated from vomiting and/or diarrhea
Get immediate medical attention, (e.g. to the emergency room) if you are having:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Continued vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Symptoms improve and then return with a fever and worse cough
While we wait for more vaccine, there is a lot you can do to flight the flu: wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizers; keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth; stay away from sick people; and keep surfaces clean around your home and work area. For more information about the H1N1 flu and vaccination clinics, please visit www.sccphd.org.

Contact: Joy Alexiou 408-595-2936
Public Information Officer
Santa Clara County Public Health Department
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