Friday, May 1, 2009

When should I seek medical care for the Flu?

So far most cases of swine flu in the United States have resulted in mild illness so it’s important to make sure that our medical system is not overwhelmed by people seeking unnecessary medical care to make sure it is available for those who need care most. At this time, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends people make decisions about when to seek medical care in the same way they would under normal circumstances.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required.
• Runny nose or nasal stuffiness
• Low-grade fever for less than 3 days
• Mild headache
• Body aches
• Mild stomach upset

Consult with a health care provider promptly or seek medical care for the following flu-like symptoms:
• Fever (of at least 100.4 degrees F) for three days or more with no explanation
• Rapidly worsening illness
• Person is unresponsive and unable to get out of bed
• Bad sore throat
• Difficulty breathing
• Severe cough
• Chest pain

Unless you are severely ill, do not go to the Emergency Room. See your primary care provider, a walk-in clinic or urgent care facility. If you do not have a medical provider, call the Health Department at (253) 798-6500, or check our website for a list of clinics in Pierce County.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple Steps Help Prevent the Flu

Given recent concerns over the Swine Flu outbreak, Tacoma Fire Department offers this simple reminder.

Every year, an estimated 5% to 20% of the United States populace suffers from seasonal influenza, more commonly known as the flu. While many consider the flu "just a bad cold," in reality, each year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu complications and approximately 36,000 people die from flu related causes.

Many people are classified as high risk for the flu by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These groups include the elderly, young children, caregivers - including firefighters and nursing staff and people with chronic illness. Getting a flu vaccination is a valuable prevention strategy for everyone, but it is especially important for those who are considered high risk.

TFD and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) also encourage you to practice six simple habits that can minimize your risk of getting sick from either seasonal or swine flu:

Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For breaking news from the CDC regarding the Swine Flu, follow or subscribe to the information widget to on this page. (Article content courtesy of CDC & LAFD)