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Stay at home to help curb the spread of the flu virus

Spreading continues of H1N1 in our community in varying degrees of illness, and actually resembles the seasonal influenza, according to Becker County Community Health Supervisor Rhonda Stock.

She says that some people affected may actually be suffering from what is called Influenza Like Illness or "ILI."

You don't have to have all the symptoms associated with H1N1 to be considered "positive."

Symptoms may include: Fever (usually 100 degrees or more), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, arthralgia or body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and weakness.

Some have reported gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

It's important that people who are sick stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the virus.

A person can be infectious 24 hours before symptoms actually appear and can remain infectious up to seven days after the start of symptoms.

You should be symptom-free 24 hours before returning to work or school. Children may be infectious for a longer period of time.

If you suspect you have been exposed to a sick person, you can still report to work, but monitor yourself closely for symptoms of becoming ill and take appropriate action if you do become ill.

To reduce the spread: Cover your cough, cough into your sleeve, if you use a tissue, dispose of immediately and wash your hands after handling. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.

Keep yourself healthy with plenty of rest, good nutrition and keeping stress under control and avoid sick people.

Persons considered at risk for H1N1 include: Pregnant women, persons caring for children under the age of 6 months, children aged 6-24 years and children and young adults with chronic underlying diseases such as asthma, diabetes, COPD etc.

It is important to plan ahead to care for someone at home with the flu.

It's a good idea to have on hand: ample supply of food and water, Boost or Ensure type drinks; baby formula, Pedialyte for infants; electrolyte-type drinks such as Gatorade; over the counter fever reducers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen (No aspirin for children under 18); thermometer and hand sanitizer.

The goal is to prevent the spread of influenza, both seasonal and H1N1.

For more information regarding Emergency Preparedness, H1N1, please see the Becker County website at, Community Health Department.