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H1N1 Influenza

This is a general information page about H1N1 Influenza, with links to other sites.

Number of cases in Saskatchewan:
http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/H1N1-surveillance  

The latest medical advice on best practices to avoid spreading H1N1 Influenza

What is H1NI Influenza? 
H1N1 Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

H1N1 Presentation
This presentation from Sun Country Health Region provides basic information on H1N1, pandemic and
seasonal influenza virus and information on how to protect yourself (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and self care measures for influenza).

Is this virus contagious?
The Public Health Agency of Canada has determined that this H1N1 Influenza virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

How does H1N1 Influenza spread?
Spread of this H1N1 Influenza is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Are there medicines to treat H1N1 Influenza?
Yes. Health agencies recommend the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started within 48 hours of becoming sick.

How long can an infected person spread H1N1 Influenza   to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious for up to seven (7) days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live two (2) hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

Basic infection control to avoid getting sick:
The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians to:
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer
• Cough and sneeze in your arm or sleeve
• Keep doing what you normally do, but stay home if you are sick
• Check http:///www.fightflu.ca for more information
• Check http:///www.voyage.gc.ca for travel notices and advisories
• Talk to a health professional if you experience flu-like symptoms
• Symptoms of H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) include: fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, cough, sore throat, perhaps vomiting and diarrhea.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?
• If you live in areas where H1N1 Influenza cases have been identified and you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, call Healthline at 1-877-800-0002, (or go to http:///www.healthlineonline.com particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
• If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
• If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, call your physician or seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
• Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Confusion
• Severe or persistent vomiting

 Advice for Athletes from Sun Country Health Region

During the week of Oct. 19, some lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza were found in school-aged children across Sun Country Health Region (SCHR).
Here are some important steps everyone can take to prevent the spread of influenza:

·        Wash your hands frequently. Do it thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds (hand hygiene). Wash your hands before and after eating, after sneezing, after coughing, after you use the washroom and after touching your eyes/nose/mouth.

 ·        DO NOT share water bottles, even with members of your own team. Regularly wash your water bottle with soap and warm water and rinse well.

 ·        Cover your cough and sneeze with tissues or by coughing into the inside of your elbow (respiratory etiquette).  Wash your hands after your cough.

 ·        DO NOT share personal items such as headphones, towels, toiletries, and other personal equipment, etc.

 ·        If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, muscle pain, and/or weakness let your coach and your parent(s) know.

o      You should avoid further sports participation and stay home until you are completely symptom free and are feeling well and able to fully participate in all normal day to day school activities (e.g., intra/extramural activities and school trips). This will prevent the spread of influenza to others.

o       You may need to see your physician for your symptoms.

 Please call HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002 if you have any questions about influenza. HealthLine is available 24 hours a day.  

You can also call your local Public Health Office during regular working hours to speak to a Public Health Nurse if you have any general questions about influenza.

Useful links for more information are as follows:

http://www.fightflu.ca/index-eng.html

Flu self-help: http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/flu-caring-for-yourself

For more information on H1N1 Influenza, visit the U.S. Centre for Disease Control at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/investigation.htm

Public Health Agency of Canada with the number of confirmed cases in Canada:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/swine-porcine/surveillance-eng.php

World Health Organization site with the number of confirmed cases in each country http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_28/en/index.html

These links are updated as needed.