I recently had a great interview with Kaitlyn Pratt from Fox 5 Atlanta and photojournalist Tim Whaley. One of my sound bites was included in the final piece (included at the end of this blog entry) but here is all the information we discussed.
• There has been a bit of focus on H1N1 because it is a new virus and we can’t yet predict how it will affect people. So far, people ages 5 to 24 years are most commonly infected, perhaps because individuals over 60 may have some immunity due to exposure to similar viruses in the past.
• Typical symptoms of H1N1 influenza include fever, cough, runny nose or congestion, sore throat, body aches and vomiting or diarrhea.
• To avoid getting sick from H1N1 flu or other illnesses, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
• The virus may live on surfaces such as doorknobs for up to 2 to 8 hours. If someone in the home has H1N1 influenza, clean tables, counters, kitchens, bathrooms and toys with a household disinfectants.
• If you are sick with a respiratory illness, do not go to work, school, camp, the grocery store etc. If you are very sick or have an underlying medical condition, seek medical care but let the staff know about your symptoms when you make the appointment because you may need to be separated from other patients or wear a mask.
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or if a tissue is available, use that instead and throw the tissue away immediately. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards.
• Among the deaths from H1N1, most patients have had underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and pregnancy. It also appears that obesity may be linked with H1N1 flu complications. My good friend Dr. Tim Uyeki at CDC recently reported the obesity link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31866883/ns/health-swine_flu/
• A vaccine is expected to be available this fall. Stay tuned for more information.
For updates on H1N1 flu in your area and how to stay healthy, please visit www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu
Fox 5 Atlanta clip; I'm about 1:30 into the piece.