Friday, May 01, 2009

H1N1 Influenza Information

With the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus now affecting residents across the United States, and the possibility that some Maryland residents may have been infected with the disease, the Mayor & Council along with the MRPD deemed it wise to let Mount Rainier residents know of precautions that individuals should take in order to minimize the possibility of being infected by this virus.

The most important precaution recommended by health officials is for individuals and families to take common sense, everyday actions to stay healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following precautions:

· Stay informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website will be updated regularly as information becomes available. http://www.cdc.gov/
· Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by infected people.
· Take everyday actions 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 hand cleaners are also effective.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
· Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
· Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
· Develop a family emergency plan as a precaution. This should include storing a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
· Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
· In children, emergency warning signs that need immediate medical attention include:
o Fast breathing or trouble breathing
o Bluish skin color
o Not drinking enough fluids
o Not waking up or not interacting
o Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
o Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
o Fever with a rash
· In adults, symptoms that need emergency medical attention include:
o Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
o Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
o Sudden dizziness
o Confusion
o Severe or persistent vomiting

More detailed information about swine flu can be obtained by visiting one or more of the following web sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.htm

Prince George’s County Health Department:
http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/Health/index.asp

District of Columbia Health Department:
http://newsroom.dc.gov/show.aspx?agency=doh&section=17&release=16843&year=2009&file=file.aspx%2frelease%2f16843%2fSwineFlufactsheet.pdf

World Health Organization:
http://www.who.int/en/

Mayor Miles and I met this afternoon and are coordinating with City staff and CERT coordinator, Tonie Davis, to get precautionary and educational materials out to our residents, schools, and church groups. The City has obtained protective equipment for use by all staff; and CERT members and council members will have protective masks for distribution if necessary. We must be prepared to aggressively respond to potential outbreaks of the virus and to take immediate precautions to prevent individual infection from occurring.

We will monitor the local situation on a daily basis and distribute any additional information to our residents as it is warranted or necessary. In the next few days you will be able to access the City’s cable channels, Comcast channel 71, and Verizon channel 21 for information and updates.

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