The Fayette County Health Department has three simple words of advice for protecting yourself from swine flu – clean (your hands), cover (your mouth) and contain (germs).
The FCHD is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating the spread of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.
By late morning on Wednesday, the IDPH reported that there were 225 confirmed cases of swine flu in Illinois, as well as 20 more probable cases. All but a few of those cases are in the Chicago area.
On Tuesday, Dee Sanders of the local health department said that to avoid getting swine flu, Fayette County residents should:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based cleaners are effective when hand-washing facilities are not available.
• Cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, because germs are spread through such contact.
FCHD officials warned that those people who suspect they have swine flu should stay at home and call their doctor.
You should follow that advice, Sanders said, if you:
• Have a fever of at least 100 degrees and have a cough and sore throat.
• Have traveled to an affected area with seven days of the onset of the illness.
• Have had contact with an ill person fitting the above travel description.
The number of confirmed cases in Illinois jumped dramatically on Tuesday of this week, from nine to 82, but Dr. Damon T. Arnold, IDPH director, said that’s not cause for alarm.
He said that IDPH laboratories are now able to perform confirmatory testing, instead of having to wait for confirmation of possible cases by the Centers for Disease Control. The state can typically complete testing of a specimen within 48 hours of receiving it, Arnold said.
Kendra Craig of the FCHD said there are a number of ways that county residents can stay informed about swine flu, the department’s Web site – www.fayettehealthdept.org – being among those.
Along with providing information about swine flu on its Web site, she said, the FCHD has links to three other Web sites that give information: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu, www.idph.state.il.us and www.ready.illinois.gov.
Of those, Craig said, the most information is available at www.ready.illinois.gov.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency set up a hotline number last week that Illinois residents may use to get non-medical information about swine flu. That number is 1-866-848-2094.