Now that Maryland has its first suspected cases of the ever-expanding H1N1-Swine Flu virus cases with three children from an elementary school in Severna Park in Anne Arundel County and three more in Baltimore County, the warning to Maryland citizens is becoming more urgent.
Based upon President Obama’s statement last evening and Governor Martin O’Malley’s press release, it is evident that in short order, there will be very few areas left that are not affected by this growing health emergency.
On April 29, the World Health Organization raised the threat level to five out of a possible six, meaning essentially that a pandemic is imminent.
Parents in affected areas are concerned and some are not sending children to school to try to avoid infection. Senior trips that are planned to affected areas may have to be cancelled and other measures will have to be taken.
The samples have been tested by the State Public Health Laboratories and have been identified as influenza but require further testing for confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control. Should the virus be confirmed as H1N1, Maryland will be able to take advantage of the Federal antiviral program.
Locally, the St. Mary’s County Health Department is closely monitoring the swine flu situation, conducting enhanced surveillance activities, and communicating regularly with community, State, and regional partners. For the most up-to-date information about swine flu and number of confirmed laboratory cases of swine flu in the U.S., please see the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov/swineflu
However, there are things we can all do to avoid, or at least, make an attempt to avoid contracting the disease.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has issued the following emergency directive on its Swine Flu web site:
Emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color (for fair tones) and grayish skin color (for darker tones)
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness or confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
Common Sense Precautions Include:
- Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, and wiping or blowing the nose.
- Cover y