Links on H1N1: An UrbanHealthWatch Perspective

PROVIDENCE, RI – Here at Urban Health Watch, we are keeping our eye on H1N1, and keeping the perspective relevant to you. According to the definition posted on the RI Department of Health website, “H1N1, also called ‘swine’ flu, is a pandemic flu virus that emerged in April 2009. Pandemic flu[es] occur when a new flu virus develops. Since most people do not have any immunity to new viruses, these viruses can spread quickly and infect many people at the same time.” Department of Health also reports that, to date, 75 people have been hospitalized and 3 deaths have occurred in RI – all attributable to H1N1; 593 deaths have been reported nationally.

Here is more information and additional links to keep you informed and ready.

From RI Department of Health, September 10, 2009: H1N1 Vaccination Campaign Announced

“Today, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announces plans…to embark on an aggressive, three-month H1N1 vaccination campaign. It is expected to begin in October and continue through December. As vaccine supply allows, our first priority for H1N1 vaccinations, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be children and pregnant women, healthcare workers and household contacts/caregivers for infants younger than 6 months of age. Current plans for the H1N1 vaccination program include [targeting the following populations at the indicated venues]:

• Children, 6 months – 5 years of age: Pediatric healthcare provider offices
• Children, grades K-12: School vaccination clinics
• Pregnant women: Birthing hospitals, prenatal care provider offices
• Household contacts/caregivers of infants younger than 6 months: Provider offices, public clinics
• Healthcare workers, first responders: Hospital-based (Healthcare Service Region) clinics
• Young adults, age 19-24 years of age: College/university clinics, public clinics

Click here to keep reading, click here.


From the Boston Globe, August 18, 2009: Cases of swine flu higher among city blacks, Hispanics

Since its arrival in Boston in late April, swine flu has proved to be a particular source of misery to the city’s African-American and Hispanic residents, causing hospitalizations at far higher levels than other groups, disease trackers report.

More than 3 of every 4 Bostonians who have spent time in the hospital because of the viral ailment are black or Hispanic, a finding that may reflect broader social ills, the top official at the Boston Public Health Commission said.

The same crowding in dense urban neighborhoods that fuels the spread of other germs may be spurring the transmission of swine flu, known scientifically as H1N1, disease specialists said. And the chronic conditions that are more prevalent in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods – diabetes, for example – may make residents of those swaths of Boston especially vulnerable to the complications of flu.”

To keep reading, click here.


From RI Department of Health: Preventing the Spread of Flu

Vaccines are one of the best ways to prevent the flu and avoid spreading it to people at high risk. Good health habits can prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu. Flu viruses spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another person. They may also spread when people touch something covered with infected droplets and then touch their eyes, mouth, or nose. Here are things you can do to prevent the spread of flu:

*** Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.

*** Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your cough and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.

*** Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

*** Stay home if you are sick. If you have flu-like symptoms (fever plus cough or fever plus sore throat), stay home from work, school, or childcare until you have been fever-free (temperature less than 100 ° F or 37.8 ° C) for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

*** Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

People who have the flu can spread it to other people 1 day before they become sick and up to 7 days after they develop symptoms.

To keep reading, click here.


From What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people

The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 (swine) flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with H1N1 (swine) flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 (swine) flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish or gray skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* 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

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

To see a video from or to keep reading, click here.

What are your questions or concerns about swine flu?


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