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September 25, 2018

Oswego Health: Steps You Can Take To Avoid the H1N1 Flu


While only a small number of local residents have become ill with suspect cases of the H1N1 flu, Oswego Health’s vice president for medical affairs Renato Mandanas, M.D., said that there are simple steps that can be taken to avoid the illness.

Washing your hands with soap and hot water is the simplest way to reduce your risk of contracting H1N1 or any flu virus.

Washing your hands with soap and hot water is the simplest way to reduce your risk of contracting H1N1 or any flu virus.

The most important step residents can take, he said, is to wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. It is also recommended that residents cover their nose and mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash afterwards.

“These recommendations may sound very simple, but they work in reducing the spread of the flu virus,” Dr. Mandanas said.

Symptoms of the flu include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

He added that the Centers for Disease (CDC) has reported that most individuals who have become ill with the H1N1 flu, have had mild symptoms that were treatable on their own at home. “Oswego Health recommends that residents with minor flu symptoms stay home,” Dr. Mandanas said. “The best treatment has been found to be getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. By coming to either emergency department or urgent care center, community members could potentially expose others to the flu.”

To further reduce the spread of the flu, Oswego Health has limited the number of visitors its patients can have at all of its facilities including Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, the Urgent Care Center in Fulton, the Behavioral Services Department and its primary care clinics in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix.

Signs that would need urgent medical attention, according to the CDC include:

In Children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • 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

Signs that would need urgent medical attention, according to the CDC include:

In Adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

To avoid these symptoms, residents can get the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine when available. Beginning October 9th the Oswego County Health Department will begin providing the seasonal flu shot on Fridays by appointment. To schedule an appointment in either Oswego or Pulaski, please call 349-3547. The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in mid-October.

If you do get the flu, it is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to receive medical care, or for other necessary trips outside the home.

Oswego Healthcare system includes the Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton, as well as health services centers in Mexico, Parish and now Phoenix. For more information, call (315) 349-5500 or visit oswegohealth.org.

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