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Health Department Offers Swine Flu Tips

June 18, 2009 — With swine flu confirmed in the Virgin Islands and many children about to head off to summer day camps, the Health Department is urging parents to keep children home who are showing symptoms of flu.
(See " Swine Flu Case Confirmed on St. Thomas .")
“In order to contain the spread, it is very important to be alert to the symptoms of influenza and specifically the H1N1 influenza virus,” acting Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said. “If a child exhibits any flu-like symptoms or has a fever greater than 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit, they should not be permitted to come to camp until they are screened and cleared by a physician.”
The symptoms of swine flu mirror that of the seasonal flu and include high fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and body ache or fatigue. Sheen urged parents not to send children to camp if they are ill.
“I understand the disappointment of children who may be sent home from camp or the frustration it could cause working parents who may be forced to stay home to care for a sick child," Sheen said. "But in a pandemic that is precisely what must happen to stop the spread of disease.”
The World Health Organization recently declared the Swine flu to have spread to the point where it meets the definition of a pandemic. This means it has spread widely, but so far, it has not been as dangerous a flu as originally feared.
Influenza viruses spread in tiny droplets by coughing and sneezing and pass from person to person. To reduce its spread, wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, cough or sneeze into sleeves and not into the hands. Whenever possible, disposable tissues should be used in place of handkerchiefs and hands should be cleaned after the tissue is thrown away.
To help track and document any new cases of flu, Sheen has activated the department’s Emergency Operations Center, which people are encouraged to report any flu-like illness to. Any flu detected at camp or during summer classes must be reported, according to a Health Department release. The center takes calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at: 773-1311, Ext. 6205 or 3262. Information can also be faxed to (340) 712-6206
On weekends flu cases can be reported to Health Department Epidemiologist Eugene Tull at (340) 626-1654 or by e-mail at eugene.tull@usvi-doh.org, or by calling Health Department Medical Director Audria Thomas at (340) 513-1872. Reports can also be made to the Office of the Commissioner at (340) 773-6551 on St. Croix and (340) 774-0117 on St. Thomas.

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June 18, 2009 -- With swine flu confirmed in the Virgin Islands and many children about to head off to summer day camps, the Health Department is urging parents to keep children home who are showing symptoms of flu.
(See " Swine Flu Case Confirmed on St. Thomas .")
“In order to contain the spread, it is very important to be alert to the symptoms of influenza and specifically the H1N1 influenza virus,” acting Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said. “If a child exhibits any flu-like symptoms or has a fever greater than 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit, they should not be permitted to come to camp until they are screened and cleared by a physician.”
The symptoms of swine flu mirror that of the seasonal flu and include high fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and body ache or fatigue. Sheen urged parents not to send children to camp if they are ill.
“I understand the disappointment of children who may be sent home from camp or the frustration it could cause working parents who may be forced to stay home to care for a sick child," Sheen said. "But in a pandemic that is precisely what must happen to stop the spread of disease.”
The World Health Organization recently declared the Swine flu to have spread to the point where it meets the definition of a pandemic. This means it has spread widely, but so far, it has not been as dangerous a flu as originally feared.
Influenza viruses spread in tiny droplets by coughing and sneezing and pass from person to person. To reduce its spread, wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, cough or sneeze into sleeves and not into the hands. Whenever possible, disposable tissues should be used in place of handkerchiefs and hands should be cleaned after the tissue is thrown away.
To help track and document any new cases of flu, Sheen has activated the department's Emergency Operations Center, which people are encouraged to report any flu-like illness to. Any flu detected at camp or during summer classes must be reported, according to a Health Department release. The center takes calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at: 773-1311, Ext. 6205 or 3262. Information can also be faxed to (340) 712-6206
On weekends flu cases can be reported to Health Department Epidemiologist Eugene Tull at (340) 626-1654 or by e-mail at eugene.tull@usvi-doh.org, or by calling Health Department Medical Director Audria Thomas at (340) 513-1872. Reports can also be made to the Office of the Commissioner at (340) 773-6551 on St. Croix and (340) 774-0117 on St. Thomas.