Flu cause for concern, not alarm

Published 10:02 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in Marengo County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels.

Reports across the state are expected to increase, especially since schools are just beginning to get back in session.

Alabama has 1,125 confirmed cases of novel H1N1 influenza, bringing the total number of probable and confirmed cases in the state to 1,141, and one death has been associated with the novel H1N1 influenza virus in Alabama, according to ADPH.

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“Unfortunately, the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus did not take the summer off,” said Dr. Joe Morton, State Superintendent of Education. “Its impact is still being felt around the world. As a result, we should continue to take preventative measures in both homes and schools to reduce the virus spreading in Alabama.”

Dr. Morton added, “We want children, parents and educators to continue to follow the common sense approach advised last school year: wash your hands often; avoid being near people who are ill; if you are sick, stay home from work or school; cover your cough with a tissue, and keep hands away from your face.

These simple steps will lessen the potential impact of H1N1 in our state and help keep us all healthier.”

Likely, a vaccine will not be available in Butler County until November or December so it is important to use common sense when dealing with influenza.

Dr. Morton touched on several, but probably one of the most important ones is to stay home. Parents should keep children at home and out of school because of the risk associated with the spread of the virus.

There is absolutely no sense is sending a sick child to school, and the same could be said for adult workers who feel that they need to go to work, even during illness.

Swine flu appears to bring on symptoms similar to seasonal influenza, so while it is important to be aware of what is happening with the virus, this is no need to panic.

There should be concern, but not overreaction.