Pandemic influenza

Swine flu - Novel Influenza A (H1N1), or more accurately, Influenza A/California/04/2009 - there are many kinds of H1N1 flu - is still out there, casuing relatively mild illness in most people, but it can still be severe and even fatal for some, just like seasonal influenza.

You should manage this flu as though it was normal seasonal influenza - looking after yourself at home.  Most people recover without the need for extra medical help. But don't hesitate to ask for help if you think you need it.

The primary tool in combating the spread of flu is still limiting its transmission by isolating infected people – keeping sick people away from healthy people.  The high uptake of the seasonal flu vaccination should also help limit the spread, so get the vaccination if you are one of the at-risk groups, such as pregnant women, people with respiratory problems etc.

Be prepared

If you become ill with influenza, you need to stay at home (or going to work or school, no going out shopping) until you have stopped sneezing and coughing, as this is how the virus spreads.  This is usually around 3 or 4 days after symptoms start, but may be up to a week.

You need to ensure that you have enough food and medicines at home to last you through that time as you will not be able to go to the shops to buy more food, or cold & flu remedies. Renew any prescriptions that you may run out of.

You should make arrangements with friends, relations or neighbours to shop for you if you do happen to run out of essential supplies before your isolation period ends. You can also order groceries online and have them delivered if you have a credit card.

Keeping safe

To keep yourself and your family safe Wellington Regional Public Health advises:

  • Wash your hands regularly with hot, soapy water and dry them thoroughly.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Use tissues instead of handkerchiefs and put them in the rubbish immediately after use.
  • Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Wash your hands after if it's unavoidable.
  • Wash suspected contaminated surfaces with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress levels, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, i.e. a temperature of 38 degrees or more, and/or cough or cold symptoms, and/or muscle and joint soreness, ring Healthline on 0800-611-116, or call your own doctor. To limit the spread of disease, don't go to the doctor unless you have been given an appointment. You can still ring 111 if there is a medical emergency.
  • If you receive medical advice to stay at home, either because you are sick, or someone in your household is, please do so.

 

Links to useful health-related information:

Porirua City Council links:

External websites:

 

Stop the spread of flu germs