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Local swine flu FAQ: Bloomsday to go on

Wed., April 29, 2009, 11:59 p.m.

Q. What should I do if I have flulike symptoms and think I might have H1N1?

If you are sick, or starting to feel sick, you should first get in touch with your physician or health care provider, according to Bill Edstrom, Spokane Regional Health District epidemiologist.

If you cannot contact a health care provider, you can call the Spokane Regional Health District information line at (866) 800-4950 after 10 a.m. Thursday, April 30, to talk to a live operator. If you cannot get through at that number, call the national Centers for Disease Control at (800) CDC-INFO.

Q. Are any schools or services closed?

As of Thursday afternoon, the regional health district had not recommended any closures.

Officials determined Thursday there’s minimal risk about a Spokane Public Schools student’s health. The district was concerned the child who attends Sheridan Elementary School was possibly related to the Spokane man suspected of having the swine flu, said Terren Roloff, spokeswoman for Spokane Public Schools.

At least two Inland Northwest school districts are sending letters home to parents updating them on how the district is handling swine flu concerns. Spokane Public Schools and the Coeur d’Alene School District both say it’s business as usual for now.

Q. What’s going to happen with Bloomsday?

After consulting with the Spokane Regional Health District, Bloomsday will continue as planned, officials announced Thursday. The health district said there is no need to alter or cancel Bloomsday events because of swine flu concerns, according to a Bloomsday news release.

Q. Should I stay home or keep my children home?

If you or your children are showing flulike symptoms — coughing, sneezing, fever, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting — the Spokane Regional Health District urges you to stay home from work or school.

Q. If I have a cold or fever, is it better to go to the doctor or to avoid the doctor — because people who might have swine flu could be there?

Call your physician’s office and consult with them about how to proceed, according to Andrew Pekosz, associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. You may be asked to enter the office through a separate entrance or perhaps be given a mask when you enter. The best thing to do is call ahead, tell them your symptoms if you have been to an area where swine H1N1 was known to occur, and follow their instructions. It is very important to report to a health care provider if you have flu symptoms because this information is vital to tracking suspected and confirmed cases of swine H1N1.

What else is happening in Spokane County?

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said there are no immediate plans to activate the county’s Emergency Operation Center in response to swine flu, as has been done in Seattle. The Spokane Regional Health District has contacted the Spokane County man reported to be in his 40s who is suspected of having the swine flu virus, Knezovich said. On Wednesday night, health district officials said they were unable to reach him after the tests earlier in the day indicated he had the virus.

More questions and answers about the virus?

Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Web site.



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