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Patients Urged to Stay Home When Flu Symptoms Strike|
FORT WORTH, Texas — Each year, an estimated 36,000 people die from flu complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on information gathered since the H1N1 flu outbreak began in April, people younger than 25 years old appear to be sicker than other categories.
As cold and flu season begins, it is important to remember simple hand hygiene techniques are the best line of defense against infections and any form of flu.
According to the CDC, symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to typical flu symptoms and include fever, lack of appetite and coughing. Symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea also have been reported, according to the CDC.
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and other hospitals are not providing mass testing for the H1N1 flu and ask individuals to comply with CDC recommendations.
The CDC instructs individuals who are sick to stay at home and avoid interacting with other people until 24 hours after the fever breaks.
"This flu season is anticipated to be worse than last year," said Jessica Maack Rangel, R.N., director of patient safety and patient advocacy. "Texas Health Fort Worth has been preparing for this, and we want our community to know that we are here to help them. However, we are asking that people use our resources wisely and work with their physician to determine the best time to go to the hospital with flu symptoms."
To minimize exposure to communicable diseases, it is vital that individuals seek the appropriate level of medical care. Individuals who think they might have the H1N1 flu, particularly those who fall into a higher-risk category, should call their physician to make an appointment.
The CDC has identified the following warning signs that may need immediate medical attention:
In the meantime, the easiest ways to protect yourself from the flu is to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, often sneezing into your elbow is the most efficient way, clean your hands often, and remind children to practice healthy habits, according to the CDC.
What is the proper hand-washing technique? To ensure hands are effectively cleaned, follow these steps:
Alcohol-based hand rubs and disinfecting wipes also may be used.
For more information about the North American flu, visit TexasHealth.org/H1N1flu.
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