Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Dec. 14

Swine flu: a time to prepare, not to panic

TUBA CITY, Ariz. - The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) is working closely in conjunction with Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) and the Arizona Department of Health Services. Together they are closely monitoring the influenza cases of swine origin that is spreading from human to human in several states within the U.S.

In response to the federal government's declaration on Sunday, April 26 of a public health emergency, TCRHCC and NAIHS are actively reviewing and implementing emergency response measures. TCRHCC has initiated preparations for an emergency response. In addition, major communication networks have been established within Navajo Area's jurisdiction along with TCRHCC.

Since 2006, TCRHCC, NAIHS and local health partners have participated in pandemic flu exercises and emergency preparedness activities to improve the local health care system's response to situations such as the current swine flu outbreak. Efforts to plan and coordinate emergency response are continuing.

Communication on up-to-date information concerning swine flu activities to TCRHCC health care providers will be disseminated as information becomes readily available from health agencies and partners.

The swine influenza A virus is contagious and can be spread from human to human, mainly through coughing, sneezing or by touching something housing the flu viruses. Simple and normal ways of contracting or becoming infected with the virus is by touching the nose, mouth, or eyes. There is no vaccine for the swine flu available at this time since the virus is very new.

People with the swine flu virus can pass the flu to another person before they are sick and while they are sick. It has been determined that infected people may pass it on to others at the beginning - one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.

Most people who get swine flu recover fully within one to two weeks. So far, all of the cases, except one, in the U.S. have recovered.

There are many resources with information on the swine flu, including www.cdc.gov or

www.azdhs.gov. If you have any questions, contact the Community Information and Referral (CIR) public inquiry hotline at (602) 263-8856 or 800-352-3792.

There is always reason to take precautions for flu prevention every year during flu season, especially among those whose immune system is compromised in some way because they run a higher risk of health complications if they contract the flu.

Serious problems from influenza can happen at any age. People age 65 years of age or older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children are more likely to experience complications from influenza. The flu can make chronic health problems worse.

The swine flu is serious, because when viewed along with the statistics for an average year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to the flu and 35,000 flu-related deaths occur in the U.S. every year.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

For more information on the swine flue, contact Linda Curley at (928) 283-2784.

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