October 31, 2009—The Minister of Health of Ukraine Vasyl Kniazevych announced today, that epidemic of the A (H1N1) virus, also known as swine flu, has started in Ukraine.
A(H1N1) is a new influenza virus that has never before circulated among humans. This virus is not related to previous or current human seasonal influenza viruses. It is spread from person-to-person. It is transmitted as easily as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled, or that can contaminate hands or surfaces.
Signs of influenza A(H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
We hope that these tips from the World Health Organization will be helpful.
What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?
The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:
• avoid touching your mouth and nose;
• clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
• avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
• reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
• improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
• practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.
What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?
If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.
If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards.
If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.
Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infect
How do I know if I have influenza A(H1N1)?
You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).
What should I do if I think I have the illness?
If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:
• stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
• rest and take plenty of fluids;
• cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
• if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
• use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
• inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
• If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.
Should I take an antiviral now just in case I catch the new virus?
No. You should only take an antiviral, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir, if your health care provider advises you to do so. Individuals should not buy medicines to prevent or fight this new influenza without a prescription, and they should exercise caution in buying antivirals over the Internet.
When should someone seek medical care?
A person should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days. For parents with a young child who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures).
Supportive care at home – resting, drinking plenty of fluids and using a pain reliever for aches – is adequate for recovery in most cases. (A non-aspirin pain reliever should be used by children and young adults because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.)
Should I go to work if I have the flu but am feeling OK?
No. Whether you have influenza A(H1N1) or a seasonal influenza, you should stay home and away from work through the duration of your symptoms. This is a precaution that can protect your work colleagues and others.
Can I travel?
If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of influenza, you should not travel. If you have any doubts about your health, you should check with your health care provider.
AMERICAN MEDICAL CENTERS, KYIV recommends: Please follow the protocol that has been approved both by the CDC in US, NHS of UK and WHO
- STAY HOME IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ANY FLU LIKE SYMTOMS (that are getting worse after 5-7 days of illness) OR SPECIFICALLY
- Unusual tiredness (at times no energy to get up from bed) with aching muscles.
- Sore throat and associated temperature of 38.5 C or 1000F or above, that lasts for more than 3 days.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS
- TAKE VITAMIN C IN ADJUSTED DOSES FOR ADULT AND PEDIATRIC POPULATION
- CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR ADVICE (if you all the more fall into the high risk group)
- Describe your symptoms.
- On suspecting H1N1 symptoms, the doctor at AMC will perform a quick test at the clinic, that will differentiate between Influenza A & B and help prescribing the right treatment.
- TAKE ANTIVIRALS, UNTIL YOU GET VACCINATED AGAINST INFLUENZA A AND B VIRUSES
- THE ONLY APPROVED ANTIVIRALS ARE:
- OSELTAMIVIR (TAMIFLU)
- ZANAMAVIR (RELENZA)
- Maintaining good basic hygiene methods like washing hands, covering your face while coughing or sneezing, cleaning hard surfaces with alcohol -based solutions will help.
- Do not buy any anti-virals on your own.