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H1N1 influenza (swine flu)

The recent outbreak of Influenza A H1N1 (formerly known as Swine Flu) has been on the forefront of every news format recently and has caused nationwide concern regarding the spread of the virus.  MedWork is available to you if you have any questions.  We would like to pass along the following information and recommendations for dealing with Influenza in the workplace.

H1N1 Dayton OhioThe symptoms of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) are similar to the symptoms of regular flu. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills and fatigue
  • Occasionally, vomiting and diarrhea

Employees with such symptoms should be referrred to their family health care provider.  If an employee reports that they have been diagnosed with probable or confirmed influenza A H1N1, the CDC recommends they should be sent home from work and and instructed that they can return to work 24 hours after their fever breaks.   Employees in close contact with another employee that has confirmed influenza should contact their family health care provider if they develop symptoms.  Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed or probable case of influenza A H1N1.  All employeess should be educated on the symptoms and the steps they can take to prevent infection.  They are:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. This removes germs from your skin and helps prevent diseases from spreading.
  • Use waterless alcohol-based hand gels (containing at least 60% alcohol) when
    soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your
    used tissue in a wastebasket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, using soap and water or an alcohol-
    based hand gel.

The local Health Department may recommend the use of facemasks if a case of influenza A H1N1is confirmed in your workplace.  Consider using facemask in the following way:

  • place mask carefully to cover mouth and nose and tie securely to minimize any gaps between the face and the mask
  • while in use, avoid touching the mask
  • whenever you touch a used mask, for example when removing or washing, clean hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based handrub
  • replace masks with a new clean, dry mask as soon as they become damp/humid
  • do not re-use single-use masks
  • discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removing.

We hope this information will help you in making contency plans for your organization.  Again, MedWork is here to help should you need further information or guidance.

Useful H1N1 Information Links:

 

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