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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sherri McDonald, Director,  Thurston  County  Public Health & Social Services, 360-239-1520

Increase in H1N1 Influenza and Gatherings

OLYMPIA – Over the past few weeks, the Health Department has seen an increase in the number of H1N1 Influenza (Swine flu) cases being reporting across Thurston County .  As with seasonal influenza, people with H1N1 Influenza are experiencing mild, moderate and more severe symptoms. 

"With the July 4th holiday coming, many people will be going to family gatherings, getting together with friends and attending other events where they might be in a crowd", says Dr. Diana Yu Thurston County Health Officer.  "We want to make sure that local residents take precautions to prevent the spread of the flu."

The Health Department is not recommending that community events be cancelled or public places be closed due to the increase in H1N1 Influenza cases.  However, the County Health Officer is recommending that:

  • People who are sick with fever and cough should stay home, away from public events, crowded places and family members in nursing homes or other similar settings.
  • Women who are pregnant, children under 5, adults 65 and older, and residents with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease such as asthma, kidney or liver disease and some blood disorders - are encouraged to stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing.
  • And with summer here, parents should avoid sending children who are sick with fever and other flu-like symptoms to day camps, summer camps or child care.  People who work with children, should send sick children home and can contact the Health Department if they have questions.

H1N1 Influenza is a respiratory disease that is spread from person-to-person by coming into contact with germs from the cough or sneeze of someone who is infected.  Some precautions you can take to better protect yourself are basic, but important:

  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Do not share snacks, food, drinks or cigarettes with others.
  • Stay home from work, child care, family or public gatherings when you are sick with a fever and cough.
  • Wash your hands often using soap, warm water, and paper towels, or use a commercially available hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Cough into your sleeve or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze.  Dispose of tissues in a covered container and wash your hands.

By following these precautions you can help prevent the spread of any type of Influenza, including H1N1.  Symptoms of Swine Flu H1N1 include sudden onset of fever, cough, and sore throat.  In addition, fatigue, lack of appetite, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can occur.  

If you are sick:

  • Call your healthcare provider before you go to see them.  Report the symptoms you have.  Follow the advice they give you for care.
  • If you need to go to your health care provider, tell the clinic staff you think you may have flu-like symptoms when you get there and ask for a mask. 
  • If you have trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Public health officials remain concerned about the spread of H1N1 Influenza because it is a new virus and the flu shot people get each year does not prevent you from getting it.  The international H1N1 Influenza (Swine flu) outbreak continues to be closely monitored by the Health Department with support from numerous local partners including the medical community, emergency responders and local government. 

For more information about H1N1 Influenza (Swine flu) for Thurston County call the Health Department's Public Information Line 360-709-3080 or visit the H1N1 Influenza webpage www.co.thurston.wa.us/health  

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3