PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday April 27, 2011 – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) has warned of the possibility of an outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1), better known as swine flu.
The bug spread in a worldwide pandemic during the 2009-2010 flu season and left thousands dead.
Based on the occurrence of sporadic outbreaks reported in countries in the Americas since the beginning of this year, CAREC has recommended that countries in the Caribbean reactivate their National Preparedness Plans for the pandemic.
There is currently no outbreak in the region and health authorities have said there is no cause for alarm.
However, the various Ministries of Health in the region have advised the public to continue to practise proper hygienic measures, including frequent hand washing and covering the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Persons who were experiencing fever, cough or sore throat have been advised to stay away from school or work until they are fever free, for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.
Those most susceptible to H1N1, especially pregnant women, persons with asthma and other lung conditions, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and impairment of the immune system, should seek prompt medical attention.
What is Influenza A (H1N1)?
Influenza is an acute viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and occasionally lungs. There are 3 types and further subtypes of influenza – one such subtype is Influenza A (H1N1). The influenza caused by A (H1N1) is commonly referred to as “Swine Flu”.
What are the symptoms of this flu?
The symptoms of H1N1 Flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with H1N1 flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Also read on on How to track Swine Flu Globally
In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin colour
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
Recommended care (Dos and Don’ts)
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water
- Drink plenty of water
- Take enough sleep
- Keep distance of at least three feet from a infected person
- Observe healthy diet
- Visit crowded places
- Spit in public places
- Taking medicines without doctor’s advice
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