Swine flu: The latest information

Hi, this is Jody Chapin.

As we continue to follow information from around the country and around the world concerning the swine flu, we thought it would be helpful to provide immediate information coming from our local officials and doctors.

As of Thursday, April 30, health officials confirmed the first case of swine flu in Georgia. A 30-year-old woman from Kentucky traveled to LaGrange in west Georgia (about 70 miles south west of Atlanta near the Alabama border) and had fallen ill. She had been in Cancun, Mexico earlier this month.

Savannah physician Dr. Paul Bradley with Memorial University Medical Center says his office has been receiving high numbers of calls from worried patients.

"I think we need to explain to them it's the flu and all the good things they did to keep from catching it this past season, they just need to keep doing," Dr Bradley told us. "Wash their hands and stay home if possible if they are sick."

Another thing Dr. Bradley stresses is that you are unlikely to have the flu if you don't have a fever.

Please take a minute to read the following precautions to help prevent the spread of any infectious disease:

  • Wash your hands.
  • 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 hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to stay in good general health.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Be physically active.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

The Southeast Health District describes swine flu as a respiratory disease of pigs that does not normally infect humans. However, human infections with swine flu do occur. This current strain of swine flu has begun to spread from human to human, causing illness.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are often similar to regular seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you have any of these symptoms, please contact your local health care provider.

However, keep in mind that most physicians and emergency rooms are swamped with phone calls from people who are not sick and just wanting information.

It's important to remember that swine flu viruses are not transmitted by food and YOU CANNOT GET SWINE FLU FROM EATING PORK PRODUCTS.

This is an evolving situation and we will continue to update our website at www.wtoc.com with new information as it becomes available.

You can also get more information at www.gachd.org, www.sehdph.org or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

For more information, you can also call the health department's flu hotline at 912.691.6223.

Also, watch THE News for the latest swine flu news.

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