LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – In doctors’ offices across the township this week, nurses and receptionists report, telephones have been ringing off the hook with just two words on many caller’s mind: swine flu. Media coverage of the spreading illness, which now bears the more politically correct but highly technical name of H1N1 Influenza A,” has sent many local residents to their phones to call a physician.
Some want to know if the doctor has flu-fighting medicine on hand, just in case they need it. Some worry they have flu-like symptoms. Some want to know if they can still eat pork, hence the need for a new flu name. (By the way, industry experts say eating pork won’t cause the flu).
Local concern was compounded Thursday (April 30, 2009) when Montgomery County (PA) Health Department officials said they believed they had identified Pennsylvania’s fourth “probable” case of swine flu. County officials said he was a Bridgeport PA man, age 31, who became ill after returning last week from a trip to Mexico. They are awaiting test results from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
The best way to deal with swine flu, county experts say, is to avoid getting it … which may be just as easy as it sounds. Their recommendations:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often, using lots of soap and water, and rubbing vigorously for at least 60 seconds. Keep a small bottle of disinfectant hand rub in your pocket and use it regularly.
- Throw away tissues you’ve sneezed on.
- Because the flu virus can survive for up to 24 hours on a hard surface, regularly clean surfaces with disinfectant. Cover door handles, railings, counter tops, and other places people regularly touch.
- If you’re ill, see your doctor then stay indoors, away from other people. Don’t got to work, lest you become an infection risk to others. If you’ve got the swine flu, a physician may prescribe medicine to help.