04/27/2009

WVU taking precautions to prevent swine flu  

Reduce your risk with good health habits

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Health experts at West Virginia University are recommending good health habits to prevent the spread of swine flu and are taking special precautions at all clinics and hospitals.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the West Virginia State Health Department say there are no reported cases of swine flu in the state, as of Monday, April 27.  While more than 100 people have reportedly died from the flu in Mexico, officials say most cases in the United States to date have been mild. 

Swine flu is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus.  It is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. 

Patients with suspected flu symptoms who went to the Emergency Department at WVU Hospitals today were given surgical masks to prevent the spread of the flu. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available throughout the hospital.  In all WVU Healthcare clinics and hospitals, patients are reminded of ways to stay healthy. 

“The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of getting the flu is wash your hands,” Rashida Khakoo, M.D., WVU chief of infectious diseases, said.  “If you have a cough or you are sneezing, please cover your mouth to prevent the spread of germs.”

Symptoms of flu usually come on suddenly and may include the following:  fever, headache, muscle aches, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, extreme fatigue. In some cases, especially children, there may be stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Dr. Khakoo said this particular strain of flu can be treated with medicine. She recommends calling your doctor or a clinic if you suspect you may have the flu, especially if you have traveled recently to outbreak areas. 

“And by all means, stay home from work or school if you’re not feeling well,” Khakoo said.

Adults who have a suppressed immune system and children may be most vulnerable to swine flu.  There is no vaccine to prevent it.

For more about swine flu, the CDC website, www.cdc.gov, offers continually updated information.


 

-WVU-


09-111
For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
johnsa@wvuh.com
AJ: 04-27-09

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