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Pierce County has first confirmed case of H1N1

By Staff | Aug 24, 2009

The first confirmed case of swine flu in Pierce County was reported earlier this month, and Lake Region District Health Unit officials are encouraging the public to take preventative measures to safeguard against the virus, which is also referred to as H1N1.

The symptoms are very similar to seasonal influenza, such as fever, cough, sore throat, achiness, chills, fatigue and vomiting, but one of the striking differences is it seems to be affecting those much young – from six to 24.

Swine flu was first reported in the country last spring, and there are more than one million confirmed cases across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of last week, the number of positive cases throughout the state was 79, according to Candace Carlson, public information officer for the Lake Region District Health Unit. No more specific information relating to the case in Pierce County was released by health officials.

Parents, especially are asked to emphasize to their children the need to regularly wash hands with soap and water as well as use proper respiratory etiquette by coughing into one’s elbow or into a tissue, and not the hands.

Those simple precautions will be important, since another school year is starting and more young people will be in close contact with each other.

Local school officials are aware of the concern over the H1N1 virus, especially since it is affecting young ages.

Jeff Lind, school superintendent, said as with seasonal flu, school officials encourage proper hygiene and students and staff washing their hands regularly. If a student does become ill, they are encouraged to stay home and recover, reducing the chances of illness spreading to others. “The main thing is not to overreact,’ Lind said.

The district knows it’s a public health concern, but the district is not going to make a lot of changes in how it addresses health-related issues among students. Staff will, however, get information about swine flu during the inservice this week. As in past years, a member of the public health unit will present information to teachers, including H1NI.

Parents are encouraged to have their children receive a flu shot.

Carlson said H1N1 vaccines require two shots. The vaccine could be available by mid to late October. Seasonal flu vaccines should be released sometime next month.

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