Buncombe County has started a Swine Flu hotline and advised residents to “take caution” in response to the influenza strain that’s popped up in cities across the country.
The Buncombe County Swine Flu hotline can be reached at 250-6400. So far, 64 cases of Swine Flu have been discovered, mostly in New York. No cases have been fatal, and no infections have yet been detected in North Carolina.
The announcement warns people to be on the lookout for the symptoms of swine flu — similar to normal flu symptoms — and to stay away from work or school if they begin feeling sick, as well as to keep in mind some common tips to avoid spreading germs.
The full announcement is below.
— David Forbes, staff writer
Buncombe County Swine Flu Hotline: 250-6400
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that this swine influenza virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between people. Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with swine influenza viruses.
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include:
chills and fatigue
Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. At this point there have been no deaths in the United States from this swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause chronic medical conditions to become worse.
If you have any of these symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider. If you are sick stay home from work or school to avoid infecting others.
Most people who have been ill with this swine flu have become ill 1 – 3 days after exposure to someone who is sick. Those with swine flu may be contagious 7 – 10 days after becoming ill.
CDC is working very closely with officials in states where human cases of swine influenza have been identified, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization.
Buncombe County Health officials are following the cases closely as well and will share information with the public as it becomes available.
What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.