Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu: Taking Care of a Sick Person in Your Home

The Swine flu A virus outbreak has reached 91 confirmed cases in the United States according to the CDC update posted April 29th, 2009. Patterns of a more severe illness may emerge in the United States.

The main way flu viruses spread is from person to person in air droplets from sneezes and coughs. This can happen when droplets of an infected person travel through the air and are deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Flu viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

If a loved one you are caring for becomes ill with the virus:
- Check with the health care professional about any special care needed, particularey in individuals with a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema.
- Check with health care professional about whether they should take antiviral medications which have been found to be very helpful in treating the Swine Flu A Virus.
- Stay home for 7 days after the start of illness; fever must be gone first before venturing out of the home.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte replacement such as Pedialyte to keep from becoming dehydrated.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with facial tissue. Dispose of soiled tissues immediately into a paper bag.
- Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after using tissues and after coughing and sneezing into hands.
- Avoid close contact with others-do not go to work or school while ill.
- Be watchful for emergency warning signs that might indicate you need to seek medical attention.

Seek emergency medical care right away if a sick person at home:Has difficulty breathing or has chest pain.
- Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips.
- Is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down.
- Has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry.
- Has seizures, or uncontrolled convulsions.
- Is less responsive than normal or becomes confused.