Flu Prevention Updates

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to remind residents that simple, common-sense suggestions, such as washing your hands often can reduce the spread of swine flu.

However, residents should understand that simple social distancing techniques can also help reduce the spread of diseases such as the flu, according to Dr. James T. Gandley, Assistant Director, Placer County Health and Human Services.

“The concept of social distancing is nothing new,” explained Dr. Gandley.

“It doesn’t mean barricading yourself in a closet or having a sign nailed on your door. It’s more the subtle day-to-day things we can do.”

He noted that people may want to avoid social hugging, and to greet others with thumbs up, instead of handshakes. At work, teleconferences may be a good option when possible instead of group meetings, and may also save travel time.

“These little changes in our daily routines can have a significant impact on the spread of all kinds of contagions,” Dr. Gandley said. “Use a disposable tissue to blow your nose and throw it out right away – and don’t forget to wash your hands. Use your own pen, and your own phone – just think about all the simple ways you can eliminate unnecessary contact. It will all add up big time.”

The California Department of Public Health has activated a toll-free H1N1 (swine flu) hotline in English and Spanish. Assistance in other languages is also available. The phone number is 1-888-865-0564 and the hotline is available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The CDC continues to stress the following simple steps to reduce your likelihood of contracting flu of any kind:

* Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash.

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to avoid spreading germs.

* If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with other people.

* Avoid close contact such as hand-holding, hugging and kissing with people who are sick.

* Avoid sharing food, drinks and lip gloss with others.

No vaccine is currently available to prevent the swine flu. Residents should contact their doctor if they have some symptoms of the flu such as fever, a cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, runny nose, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting. The doctor will determine what further treatment may be needed.

Placer County Public Health continues to work with residents, community groups, local jurisdictions, state agencies and others to respond to the flu outbreak and monitor the situation.

Placer County has no confirmed cases of swine flu. A suspect case was tested, and the result was negative. The individual is well and no longer contagious.

County Public Health and the Public Information Office are posting daily updates on the county website at www.placer.ca.gov.

For the most up-to-date information, you can visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/swineflu. The Placer County Flu Telephone line also provides an updated pre-recorded message in English and Spanish. Call 1-530-889-7161.

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