syafeerul: H1N1 part II

i came across two most referred websites on H1N1 cases.

  1. World Health Organization
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

both sites provides tons of info. visit them to learn more on this outbreak. here are some that i chose to pull out from their respective sites.

from WHO..

What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?

The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:

  • avoid touching your mouth and nose;
  • clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
  • avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
  • reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?

  • If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.
  • If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.
  • Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infection.

What should I do if I think I have the illness?

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
  • If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.

Should I take an antiviral now just in case I catch the new virus?

No. You should only take an antiviral, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir, if your health care provider advises you to do so. Individuals should not buy medicines to prevent or fight this new influenza without a prescription, and they should exercise caution in buying antivirals over the Internet.

What about breastfeeding? Should I stop if I am ill?

No, not unless your health care provider advises it. Studies on other influenza infections show that breastfeeding is most likely protective for babies – it passes on helpful maternal immunities and lowers the risk of respiratory disease. Breastfeeding provides the best overall nutrition for babies and increases their defense factors to fight illness.

Clean hands protect against infection

Protect yourself

  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Use alcohol-based handrub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.

How do I wash my hands properly?

Washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice,
using the images below.

How to handwash

Advice on the use of masks in the community setting in Influenza A (H1N1) outbreaks

In health-care settings, studies evaluating measures to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses suggest that the use of masks could reduce the transmission of influenza. In the  community,  however,  the  benefits  of  wearing  masks  has  not  been established, especially in open areas, as opposed to enclosed spaces while in close contact with a person with influenza-like symptoms.

Using a mask incorrectly however, may actually increase the risk of transmission, rather than  reduce  it.    If  masks  are  to  be  used,  this  measure  should  be  combined with  other general measures to help prevent the human-to-human transmission of influenza, training on the correct use of masks and consideration of cultural and personal values.

If  masks  are  worn,  proper  use  and  disposal  is  essential  to  ensure  they  are  potentially effective and to avoid any increase in risk of transmission associated with the incorrect use of masks.  The following information on correct use of masks derives from the practices in health-care settings:

  • place mask carefully to cover mouth  and  nose and tie securely to minimise 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.

Although  some  alternative  barriers  to  standard  medical  masks  are  frequently  used  (e.g.  cloth mask, scarf, paper masks, rags tied over the nose and mouth), there is insufficient information available on their effectiveness. If such alternative barriers are used, they should only be used once or, in the case of cloth masks, should be cleaned thoroughly between each use (i.e. wash with normal household detergent at normal temperature).  They should be removed immediately after caring for the ill.  Hands should be washed immediately after removal of the mask.

from CDC..

How does novel H1N1 virus spread?

Spread of novel H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?

The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue

A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

High risk groups

for this part, i took from UpToDate as its info seems more in-depth.

High risk groups for the development of complications of pandemic H1N1 influenza A are thought to be similar to those defined for seasonal influenza. High risk groups include:

  • Children younger than 5 years of age (particularly those less than 2 years of age)
  • Individuals 65 years of age or older
  • Individuals younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with chronic medical conditions requiring ongoing medical care, including:
    • Chronic pulmonary disease, including asthma (particularly if systemic glucocorticoids have been required during the past year)
    • Cardiovascular disease, except isolated hypertension
    • Active malignancy
    • Chronic renal insufficiency
    • Chronic liver disease
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease
    • Immunosuppression, including HIV infection (particularly if CD4 <200 cells/microL), organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, inflammatory disorders treated with immunosuppressants
    • Individuals who have any condition that can compromise handling of respiratory secretions (eg, cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy, metabolic conditions)
    • Children with an underlying metabolic disorder, such as medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, who are unable to tolerate prolonged fasting
  • Children with poor nutritional and fluid intake because of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities

Although there are no data regarding the risk for severe or complicated influenza among asplenic individuals, influenza is a risk factor for secondary bacterial infections that can cause severe disease among such patients.

Obesity has not been recognized as a risk factor for severe seasonal influenza, but cases of severe pandemic H1N1 influenza A, including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, have been reported in obese individuals without known underlying conditions.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • 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

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • 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

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?

Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What kills influenza virus?

Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

i guess this two posts on this H1N1 should be sufficient for us to protect ourselves and our family. do add infos if u have any. in summary:

  • H1N1 spreads through water droplets i.e sneeze, spitting, coughing.
  • H1N1 can infect through nose or mouth – upper respiratory system.
  • best way to protect is to avoid close contact with sick people. if that can’t be avoided, don’t touch either nose or mouth after making contact. wash hands properly.
  • face mask serves as an extra protection. its best used by sick people as that prevents them from infecting others.
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