Fri04252014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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10 Confirmed Cases of H1N1 in Colonial Beach Schools

The bad news is nine cases of H1N1, commonly known as the swine flu have been confirmed in the Elementary School and one case in the High School, according to Colonial Beach Superintendent Donna Power.

Is there any good news? Yes, as a matter of fact, there is lots of good news.

At a recent meeting of the Town Council,  Power joked that the young elementary students are having fun coughing into their elbows. Children around town can be seen observing such simple preventative measures while many adults still fail to do so. And rightfully they should since the virus is hitting kids and teens harder than adults.

Routine measures at the schools have continued as usual. Staff members are sanitizing the schools daily, using disinfectant and wiping down all surfaces that kids and teachers touch.

 Another good bit of news according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is that the virus has been mild in this country as compared to other seasonal flus.

Dr. Thomas Irungu, District Director of Three Rivers Health Department, said statistical data on confirmed H1N1 cases in Westmoreland County or Colonial Beach has not been kept because 90 percent of patients with flu symptoms have been found to have the H1N1 virus.

Irungu reported that, for the most part, the disease has been mild. That is not to say it is harmless, but according to Irungu the incidence of H1N1 being severe has been statistically the same as any other flu experienced in the past.

The Virginia Department of Health reports, “While most reports of the H1N1 virus indicate that its impact is moderate, viruses are highly unpredictable and can mutate into a more serious form in a short period of time. Parents should ensure that children receive all recommended immunizations and plan for situations when children may be home ill for several days.”

The virus seems to be hitting children and teens the hardest as well as adults with underlying health risks such as chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

Irungu recommends people with flu-like symptoms remain at home and call their health care providers first for an appointment. If symptoms are mild, your doctor may be able to call in a prescription and minimize the need to bring the infected person into contact with others.

However, Irungu strongly suggests seeking medical attention if you experience shortness of breath, become weak or dehydrated, or are unable to keep food down.

The incubation period for the H1N1 virus is seven days, which means one can experience symptoms up to seven days after being infected.

What can you do to protect yourself if you have to work or be among the public? Some common-sense tips include frequent hand washing, coughing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately or coughing into your elbow. Also, wipe down surfaces with disinfectant, and most importantly don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth or food before washing your hands.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, fatigue and body aches.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends the following:

Stay home from work and school and limit their contact with others to keep from spreading the virus

Cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash.

Wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. Use of alcohol-based hand cleaners also is effective.

Limit close contact with sick people.

Prevent the spread of germs by not touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Call their health care provider if they have questions or concerns.

The CDC recommends staying home if you have flu-like symptoms and remain home until you are fever free for at least 24 hours without medication.

Colonial Beach officials are staying on top of the H1N1 virus to ensure every precaution is taken to keep this virus at bay in the small town of Colonial Beach.

Town Manager Val Foulds said Monday that she will be meeting with Power on Monday to review any H1N1 issues and plan a strategy for going forward.

The Chief of Police and Foulds will participate in a conference call for local government officials chaired by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with Health & Human Services and the CDC on Tuesday.

Linda Farneth

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