Tahoe area health care providers prepare for swine flu | SierraSun.com

Tahoe area health care providers prepare for swine flu

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE ” Area health officials are preparing for swine flu with confirmed cases as close as Sacramento.

As of Tuesday, nearby Sacramento County has three confirmed cases of swine flue as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency. Federal health officials say the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the United States has jumped to 64.

“The community needs to know there are no reported cases as of now in Nevada, Placer or Washoe counties,” said Paige Thomason, director of marketing and communication for Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Tahoe Forest Hospital is talking to the respective county health departments daily, and in turn those health departments are talking to the Center for Disease Control daily as well, Thomason said.

“We’re in connections with the doctors, the hospital and the clinics,” said Patty Carter, the Nevada County Health Department’s coordinator for emergency services. “We’re running the Health Department like an incident command center.”

Thomason said those who believe they have swine flu should go to their primary health care provider or the emergency room.

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“This is the flu ” the flu by a different definition which is concerning and new,” said Chris Spencer, Infection Control Practitioner for Tahoe Forest Health Systems.

An antiviral called Tamiflu will be available on a restricted bases dispensed under the supervision of the county health departments, Spencer said.

U.S. health authorities are advising people to postpone non-essential trips to Mexico, where the swine flu broke out and has killed 20 people, with another 129 deaths suspected.

Nevada and Placer counties have been involved in planning for flu outbreak for several years.

The Washoe County District Health Department is advising health care providers to test specimens from patients displaying flu symptoms to determine as quickly as possible if it is swine flu.

The Union’s Dave Moller and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site, http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu, or Tahoe Forest Hospital’s site, http://www.tfhd.com.

– 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.

– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

– If you get sick with influenza, the CDC recommends you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to prevent the spread of germs.

In children

– Fast or troubled breathing

– Bluish skin color

– Not drinking enough fluids

– Not waking up or interacting

– Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

– Flu-like symptoms improve then worsen

– Fever with rash

In adults

– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

– Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

– Sudden dizziness

– Confusion

– Severe or persistent vomiting