1964 poster featuring "Wellbee," the CDC’s
national symbol of public health
CDC/ Mary Hilpertshauser
Public health officials must walk a fine line these days. They want to raise awareness about the virus but not cause panic.
It's believed that the novel H1N1 flu virus that first hit the
In June and July, three Minnesotans died while infected with the H1N1 (“swine flu”) virus. All had other serious medical conditions, consistent with H1N1-related deaths nationwide.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported that two of the victims were children and one was an elderly patient. All had been living in the Twin Cities.
Children under age five, pregnant women, people with chronic lung problems and lowered immune systems, and residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities may be more susceptible to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
H1N1 flu symptoms are similar to seasonal flu: a fever of 100°F or above, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
The MDS says mild cases of H1N1 can be treated at home as you would normally treat a mild flu, by taking more fluids and resting, and perhaps Tylenol to treat the symptoms. But if you’re worried that you or your child may have a more serious flu virus, you can call the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-877-676-5414 for advice on what to do.
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Sanne Magnan, MD, said “concern is running high” about the H1N1 flu virus. “But it’s important to remember that we can all take steps to protect ourselves and others.”
The MDH recommends the following simple precautions for reducing the risk of getting or spreading the virus.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean your hands frequently and thoroughly – with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub solution.
- Clean your hands after shaking hands or having other close contact with other people – before eating or preparing food, or touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Limit your contact with others who may be ill.
- If you’re sick from the flu, stay home from work, school or other public places.
- Drink plenty of fluids while you're sick.
- If you are an employer, encourage your employees to stay home if they are sick.
- If you do develop possible flu symptoms and you want to consult your health care provider, call before going in for an office visit.
People at risk for severe flu or flu complications should contact their health care provider if they have flu symptoms or have been exposed to people with flu symptoms.
For more information:
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): What is H1N1 Novel Influenza?
Centers for Disease Control And Prevention: H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): General Information