Health officials across the United States are actively investigating multiple outbreaks of swine flu. As of April 29, 2009, there are no reported cases of swine flu in New Hampshire.
Our hospital is part of a statewide effort to coordinate its response with the NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) and the New Hampshire Hospital Association as developments unfold. This includes ongoing monitoring of bed capacity, surveillance of patients presenting with possible swine flu virus, and assessing what supplies and medications are available.
To help prevent the spread of illness, hospital medical staff is prepared to use proper personal protection equipment, including gowns, gloves and masks. As always, doctors, nurses and other staff are washing their hands. We are keeping up to date on the latest recommendations from NH DHHS.
As a result of intense planning over the past few years, New Hampshire’s hospitals are better prepared than ever to respond to the swine flu outbreak. Preparedness is always a work in progress, but hospitals throughout the state have been planning and preparing for a pandemic for several years. Our hope is this flu virus does not spread, but we have processes in place to be ready to support our communities should the outbreak reach New Hampshire.
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by influenza viruses. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections have been known to happen. The current swine flu virus can be spread from person-to-person. It is spread through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. It is also spread by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth. A person cannot get swine flu by eating pork.
What are the symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are fever, tiredness, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, call your physician first. We urge you to avoid going to the hospital emergency room unless you are experiencing severe signs of illness. Please ask your doctor for advice before you come to the hospital. He or she will determine if influenza testing or treatment is necessary. Patients who do not have a primary care provider can call the NH DHHS swine flu hotline: 1-888-330-6764. The hotline is open every day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you are sick, stay home from work, school or public events. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it away. Hand washing is the first and best way to prevent the spread of any infection. Clean your hands every time you cough or sneeze. Please consider not visiting patients you know in the hospital if you have any flu-like symptoms.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, those warning signs are:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• 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
• Fever with a rash
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
• Severe or persistent vomiting
Additional information is available from:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
The NH Department of Health and Human Services - http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/DHHS_SITE/swineflu.htm