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“With as many cases of H1N1 influenza that have been reported in Illinois, we have been concerned that there would be fatalities in Winnebago County. We know the virus is circulating in the state and I would like to remind everyone, especially those with chronic medical conditions, to continue taking steps to keep from getting the flu,” added Bacon.  
People at increased risk for flu complications include:
  • Children younger than 5-years-old (risk for severe complications from seasonal influenza is highest among children younger than 2-years-old)
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 65-years of age and older
  • Persons with the following conditions: Chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
  • Adults and children who have immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by medications such as corticosteroids and chemotherapy, or diseases such as HIV/AIDS, adrenal disease, or lupus
  • Persons younger than 19-years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
Symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting as well.  Make decisions about when to seek medical care as you would under normal circumstances. It is not necessary to seek medical attention if you have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care.
If you do become more severely ill, and experience any of the following warning signs, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and whether you need to be evaluated.
For children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish or gray skin color (call 911 immediately)
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but - then return with fever and worse cough.

For adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Confusion
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.                                                                    

Since April of 2009, Winnebago County reports 17 hospitalizations associated with H1N1 and as of Friday, September 18, 2009 one death. In Illinois there have been 425 hospitalizations and 17 deaths related to H1N1 influenza.
This is a difficult reminder to all of us that influenza can be a serious infection, especially to anyone with underlying medical conditions. We all can take actions to prevent contracting and spreading influenza. These actions include: Get your flu shots and follow the three C’s:
  • Clean - properly wash your hands frequently
  • Cover - cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain - contain your germs by staying home if you are sick
The Winnebago County Health Department continues to monitor for signs of increased virulence of H1N1 flu. For more information on H1N1 influenza log onto the Winnebago County Health Department website at www.wchd.org, or the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control at:  www.cdc.gov
Illinois Department of Public Health 
www.idph.state.il.us
Illinois Emergency Management Agency 
www.ready.illinois.gov
Health and Human Services at:  
www.flu.gov

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