October  
2009

Vol 9 - No. 4


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HEALTH AND FITNESS


Risk of H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Continues: Don't Let Your Guard Down

H1N1 pandemic flu has continued to spread throughout the world over the summer months. While health officials cannot be certain, it is anticipated that there is likely to be large increase in the spread of this flu during the fall and winter. As schools and universities reopen, the potential for spreading the virus will increase and students must  protect themselves and others by adhering to the following recommendations:

  1. If you get sick, stay home and away from public places including work and school, and limit contact with others. Persons with influenza-like symptoms (including fever, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) are advised to stay home for 7 days after their symptoms begin or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours - whichever is longer. If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Tips on caring for yourself and others infected with influenza are available here .

  2. Cover your cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your arm instead of your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it in a garbage bin as soon as possible. Avoid using handkerchiefs and use tissues only once.

  3. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol). Wash your hands immediately after you cough or sneeze, after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated, before and after eating or preparing food, and after using the washroom.

  4. Keep shared surfaces (e.g. tables, counters, bathrooms, toys) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to the directions on the product label.

  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to keep germs from spreading.

  6. To help your body fight infections, eat healthy, exercise, get enough rest, and make sure you are up-to-date on your immunizations. Call your local public health unit or your doctor for more information.

Be prepared for emergencies, including pandemics:

All households should have a complete emergency kit that includes additional emergency supplies such as food, water and prescription and other important medications in the event of a pandemic or other emergency. A checklist for emergency and pandemic preparedness is available here .

For more information on H1N1 influenza contact your local public health unit. More information can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care Public Information website

 

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