Health Bulletins

H1N1 - We’re all in this Together
Community Health Network (CHN) has been working closely over the past several months with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Division of Public Health and local public health departments to prepare for the H1N1 Influenza (Flu). As a community, we can work together to combat the spread of the influenza flu from person to person by following some simple steps:

1. Good Habits Help Prevent Influenza (Flu)
•Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 15 seconds, or, if water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand gel. Washing your hands is the single best step that can be taken to prevent the spread of influenza.
•Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands.
•Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
•Disinfect items people frequently touch, such as door knobs, toys, keyboards, faucets, phones, light switches. Use a household disinfectant or chlorine bleach mixture (1/4 cup chlorine bleach and 1 gallon cool water).
•Practice good health habits, such as plenty of sleep, physical activity, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat properly.
•Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils either in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
•Laundry can be washed in a standard washing machine with warm or cold water and detergent.
•Place tissues used by the ill person(s) in a bag and throw them away with other household waste.
•Get an influenza vaccination to reduce your risk of getting the flu.
•Practice good cough/respiratory etiquette by covering your cough, or sneeze using a tissue or your upper sleeve rather than your hands; and wash your hands.
•Avoid smoking.
•If you travel to areas with bird flu, avoid bird markets, farms or direct contact with birds or their secretions.

2. How to Care for Persons in your Household ill with the H1N1 Influenza (Flu)
•Physically separate influenza patients from other people as much as possible.
•Designate one person in the household as the main caregiver for the ill person. This person should be healthy and not have any “high risk” medical conditions, such as pregnancy, diabetes, heart problems, kidney disease, disease or treatment that suppresses the immune system, chronic lung diseases or age 65 and over.
•Watch for influenza symptoms in other household members, such as fever, sore throat, cough, chills, fatigue; some are experiencing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Persons with these symptoms should remain isolated at home until their fever has subsided for 24 hours without fever reducing medications, unless they need to seek medical care.
•Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
•Wear a mask – masks may be useful in decreasing the spread of influenza when worn by the patient and/or caregiver.

3. Signs to seek medical care are:
Children - warning signs that need urgent medical attention:
          -Fast breathing or trouble breathing
          -Bluish skin color
          -Not drinking enough fluids
          -Not waking up or not interacting
          -Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
          -Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
          -with a rash

Adult - warning signs that need urgent medical attention:
          -Difficulty breathing or shortness or breath
          -Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
          -Sudden dizziness
          -Confusion
          -Severe or persistent vomiting

CHN has cough/respiratory kiosks that contain masks, alcohol-based hand gel and kleenex at all main entrances of their facilities to assist persons to practice good cough/respiratory etiquette and help diminish the spread of the H1N1 Influenza.

There is also an H1N1 Team at CHN consisting of the Chief of Staff, Infection Prevention and Control Medical Director, Director of Education, Director of HR, VP of Acute Care, Administrator of Juliette Manor, Clinical Manager of CHN Medical Centers, and Director of Infection Prevention and Control. The team is continually working to assure that CHN is prepared to meet the needs of the communities it serves.

For any questions regarding H1N1, contact any CHN healthcare provider. We’re all in this together.

Should You get the H1N1 Vaccine?
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Further information and constant updates are available on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health website – www.pandemic.wisconsin.gov - or the CHN website.

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