McCook hospital urges swine flu precautions
If any swine flu cases develop in Southwest Nebraska Community Hospital is prepared to work closely with state and national agencies to control the virus, according to Jan Fidler, Community Hospital Vice President Patient Care Services.
"We are receiving information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies to remain current with this very fluid situation," Fidler said.
According to the Nebraska Hospital Association, hospitals, physicians and health centers are the "eyes and ears" for Nebraska's public health system. They are working closely with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to share information regarding flu activity.
According to the CDC, 50 U.S. cases of the human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses have been confirmed, with numbers changing daily. However, there are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Nebraska, at this time.
And if the swine flu cases should develop into a pandemic, Community Hospital has been working closely with other hospitals and state health officials for a number of years on emergency preparedness. "While emergency preparedness is always a work in progress, we have been planning and preparing for emergencies such as this for several years," she said.
Nebraska residents are an important part of preparedness efforts, Fidler says. She urges the public to follow the precautions shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health and Human Services:
Everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
* 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.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
* Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Symptoms of swine flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Humans cannot get swine flu from eating pork.
Contact your healthcare provider for more information or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov.