Individual Planning Key To H1N1 Preparedness

The H1N1 flu virus is widespread around the world, but a state health official tells South Dakotans it’s not too late to make basic preparations for a likely increase in cases this fall.

“Currently the H1N1 flu virus doesn’t appear to be any more severe than seasonal flu but that could certainly change as the virus continues to spread and adapt,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health. “That’s why we want South Dakotans to stay informed about H1N1 flu and to make common sense preparations.”

Hollingsworth encouraged individuals to stay informed about H1N1 and to make the following basic preparations:

* Keep a stock of essential supplies at home, such as food, water, medicine and a thermometer.

* Keep a supply of personal items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and activities for the kids to make extended time at home more comfortable.

* Make sure you have a plan to check in with elderly parents and friends, that children know who to contact in an emergency; and that you know your family’s medical histories, social security numbers, and other basic information.

* Check www.bReadySD.com for more information about putting together an emergency kit.

Good personal hygiene is also important. Basic hygiene can help prevent seasonal influenza, colds, and other respiratory diseases, including H1N1 flu:

* Get vaccinated for seasonal flu.

* Wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

* Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you’re sick.

* Practice other good health habits – get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and avoid smoking.

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