As the cases of swine flu continue to rise in Kansas and Douglas County, health professionals advise residents to do two things:
• Wash their hands.
• Stay home when they are sick.
They say those are the best measures to prevent the spread of the H1N1 influenza A virus, commonly known as swine flu.
“It is in Douglas County, so we are just continuing to remind people to be aware of those healthy habits,” said Lisa Horn, spokeswoman for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
Douglas County has nine confirmed cases of the disease; seven are in adults, and two are in children. Four of the cases were confirmed in the past eight days. Douglas County had its first confirmed case on June 1.
Horn said none of the cases required hospitalization and none of them are related. She couldn’t provide anymore information about the cases.
She said the individuals were closely monitored and encouraged to stay home for seven days, limiting their contact with the public.
“We are continuing to encourage isolation of people who have been confirmed positive and (to encourage) proper hygiene efforts,” Horn said.
As of Thursday, there were 161 confirmed swine flu cases statewide. Counties with the most cases were Geary County with 26, Riley County with 25 and Sedgwick with 21. Twenty-seven of the state’s 105 counties have had at least one confirmed case. Douglas County ranks sixth among those that do.
The Douglas County health department is preparing to be able to dispense a new vaccine for swine flu if it becomes available this fall. The vaccine is still in production and being tested. It is unknown whether it will be recommended for everyone or just for vulnerable populations.
“We are preparing, but it’s hard because there are lot of things that we don’t really know,” Horn said.
What health professionals do know is that the symptoms are similar to seasonal flu: a fever higher than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestion and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting.
Individuals with these symptoms should contact their doctor, who will determine whether testing or treatment is needed.
For more information, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Web site.