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INFLUENZA A (H1N1)

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INFLUENZA A (H1N1)

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Influenza A (H1N1), a novel influenza virus, is contagious and transmitted person to person. Influenza A (H1N1) virus in patient’s nose and throat excretion is passed to other persons directly through coughing and sneezing. Another person within 1 meter in distance can also be exposed to the virus by breathing in contaminated air. Indirectly, a person can be infected by touching contaminated hands, surfaces and utensils such as glasses, telephone and door knob ect.  The virus infects a person while they touch their nose, eyes and mouth. A person can even transmit the virus 1 day before symptom appears. The most contagious period 3 days is the first 3 days of illness. The longest contagious period 3 days normally does not exceed 7 days.

Causative Agent

The disease is caused by a novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus. From current evidence, the virus is a result of re-assortment between human to human.

Transmission of Influenza Virus

Influenza A (H1N1) virus in a patient’s nose and throat excretion is passed to other persons directly through coughing and sneezing. Another person within 1 meter in distance can also be contaminated air. Indirectly, a person can be infected by touching contaminated hands, surfaces and utensils such as glasses, telephone and door knobs ect. The virus infects a person while they touch their nose, eyes and mouth. A patient can even transmit the virus 1 day before symptom appears. The most contagious period normally does not exceed 7 days.

Sign and symptoms

Incubation period of influenza is 1-3 days, in a very rare case that incubation period approaches 7 days. After getting infected, a person will have fever greater than 37.5 Celsius. Symptoms of this new influenza stating with fever, headache, body aches, chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat and diarrhea.
Most patients have only mild symptoms and do not require any hospitalization. A patient will gradually recover within 5-7 days. However some ill individuals might have severe complication such as pneumonia which can be observed through rapid and trouble breathing.

Treatment

Patients with severe illness should seek medical care at a nearby hospital immediately. Antiviral drug such as prescribed within 48 hours after onset on illness under care of a physician usually gives good treatment result.

  • Take prescribed medicine for relief of symptoms such as paracetamol. Wipe the patients’ skin gently and intermittently using towel soaked with clean water to help relief fever.
  • Drink plenty of water of clean water and fruit juice. Avoid drinking cold water.
  • Eat soft nutritious food including eggs, vegetables and fruits.
  • As the disease is caused by a virus is no need to take any antibiotic.

Prevent ion from Infection

  • Avoid close contact with influenza ill person.
  • If you have to take care for an ill person, you should wear mask, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after each contact with the ill person.
  • Use common spoon when eating with other persons.
  • Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly and often especially after coughing and sneezing. Alcohol- based gel hand cleaners are also effective disinfectants.
  • Take actions to stay healthy including nutritious food, proper and regular exercises, adequate safe water, sleep and avoidance of cigarettes and alcoholic drink.

Prevention of virus spreading

  • Staff or student who has got sick with  2 in 4 symptoms that is fever, cough, sore throat  or runny nose should be separate from other people and stay at home at least 7 days.
  • Should be open windows in class rooms at least 30 minute per day while cleaning because H1N1 virus can be killed by high temperature.
  • Home room teacher should be monitor about hand washing with your students.
  • Maids have to clean the area that students always touch it such as key board, stair at least 3 times a day in the morning, afternoon and evening for decrease germs with a detergent as a washing powder. Otherwise after school, maids have to clean every class rooms properly including equipments.
  • When sick student come back to school after they are solved their health problem. They should bring the medical certificate to confirm that they are well.
  • Give a letter to parents about H1N1 and how to prevent from H1N1.