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County Fill-in-Blank News Release
County Health Departments NOT Testing for H1N1 Influenza

For Release: _____
Contact: _____
Phone: _____

The _____ County Health Department reminded the public today that the health department is not testing for individual cases of the new H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus.

“We now know that the new influenza virus has spread throughout the state, so testing individuals to determine if the disease is in the county is no longer necessary,” said _____ County Administrative Director _____. “Please do not come to the health department to be tested or bring your sick children to be tested for swine flu.”

_____ emphasized that whether one has seasonal flu or the new H1N1 flu, the symptoms and treatment for flu are the same, so testing to determine which kind of influenza an individual may have is not necessary, unless the individual has been hospitalized. “We are no longer tracking cases of the new H1N1 flu in the county,” _____ said.

_____ noted that physicians’ offices can provide rapid flu tests to determine if a person has type A or type B flu. “Since the new H1N1 flu is essentially the only flu virus circulating right now, it’s likely that any person who tests positive for influenza A on the rapid flu test has the H1N1 flu virus,” s/he said.
“Whether it is seasonal or the new flu, influenza viruses are spread from person to person in respiratory droplets when a person who has the virus coughs or sneezes and spreads those infected droplets to others,” _____ explained.

Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some persons also report diarrhea and vomiting.

“Persons who are ill should not go to work or school and should keep away from others as much as possible,” _____ said. “For mild flu symptoms, it is not necessary to see a doctor, however, if you are pregnant or have a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, asthma or emphysema, do check with your health care provider about appropriate treatment.”

_____ said sick persons should seek immediate medical care if they have trouble breathing; have purple or blue discoloration of the lips; are vomiting and unable to keep liquids down; have signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry; have seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions); or are less responsive than normal or become confused.

“Otherwise, stay home and get plenty of rest, drink clear fluids to keep from being dehydrated, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough or sneeze ‘into your sleeve’, and wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, particularly after using tissues or coughing and sneezing into hands,” _____ said. “Persons should not return to school or work for at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.”

For those persons who are at high risk for severe complications from the flu, some antiviral prescription medications may help lessen influenza symptoms. Most people will not need them to fully recover from the flu. Health officials caution that aspirin should not be given to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever. Instead, use medications such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and muscle aches associated with the flu. The use of aspirin in children has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal disease in children, causing harmful effects to many organs, including the brain and liver.

For more information, call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) or visit this Web site: http://h1n1.health.ok.gov.

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