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Swine Flu Update 20

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The numbers of people diagnosed with swine influenza A(H1N1) on the West Coast stands at forty eight confirmed cases.

The level of illness would be much higher than the number of laboratory-confirmed cases reported daily suggests because laboratory testing is presently done only in the management of severe cases and as part of a surveillance programme. Also, many people with swine flu are able to look after themselves at home and do not need to see their GP.

The Ministry of Health has called on the community to be especially aware of those people who fall ill and may need good friends and neighbours to check on them.

Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Fran McGrath says "We all know of people in our community who live alone or who don't have good support networks. We need to keep an eye on them if they are unwell, and make sure they get help if their illness becomes more severe."

These may be older people, a single person, or someone who is the only adult in a household of children or teenagers.

Dr McGrath says people should seek medical advice if they have influenza which gets worse, or if they have influenza and are pregnant or have a chronic medical condition.

"Anyone with a friend or relative in this situation should stay in regular contact to make certain their condition hasn't suddenly become worse. Those who live alone, or are the only adults in their household, can help by asking a friend or relative to be their 'flu buddy' by phoning them daily to check on their situation."

Dr McGrath says that for most people, pandemic influenza will be a mild to moderate illness, and they will recover well at home without needing treatment.

There are three key actions that can lessen the risks of contracting or passing on influenza. Cover coughs and sneezes Wash hands frequently and dry them thoroughly If unwell, stay at home

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