Robins health officials offer prevention advice, tips against new flu strain

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Although there have been no confirmed H1N1 flu cases at Robins, health officials here are urging caution to prevent the kind of outbreaks that have hit Mexico and parts of the U.S.

Col. Steve Lamb, the Public Health Emergency Officer for Robins, said the H1N1 virus is a concern because it is a different strain of the flu that commonly hits here in the winter months. The strain, commonly referred to as the swine flu, normally occurs in pigs.

"It's one previously not seen in humans," said Colonel Lamb, who is commander of the 78th Aerospace Medicine Squadron. "It could sweep through a non-immune population."

The symptoms are the same as the seasonal flu, he said, and the only way anyone would know they have it is by having a test done.

Frequent hand washing with warm or hot water is one important precaution against spreading the virus. Other recommendations include:

-- Stay home from work if you start to have mild symptoms. Seek medical attention if the symptoms become more serious.

-- Avoid contact with anyone who shows symptoms

-- Cover nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing

-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The symptoms to watch for include sore throat, body aches and fever of 100.5 or higher. If anyone learns they have been exposed to H1N1 flu, Colonel Lamb said, they should get checked if it is within seven days of exposure.

After seven days without symptoms there is no cause for concern, he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 109 cases in eleven states had been confirmed in the U.S., with one fatality, a 23-month-old child in Texas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has urged against referring to H1N1 as the swine flu to avoid the false inference that the illness is food borne.