The influenza like illness is present in the North Tama School and community. Four cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing to be the H1N1 (Swine) flu. Others who are ill may be assumed to have the H1N1.
The symptoms of the H1N1 flu are consistent with regular seasonal flu, with some increased incidence of vomiting and diarrhea. Overall, the sickness is mild and symptoms subside after 2-5 days. A nagging dry cough may last longer, even up to 2 weeks, but the person would not be contagious. Physicians do recommend if you are very sick for longer than 5 days, or have increased severity of symptoms throughout your illness, to call your doctor.
While most people are recuperating without complications, those who are in certain high risk groups could become more severely ill. If you have any of the following conditions and you become ill with the symptoms of H1N1, call your doctor: Pregnancy, asthma, emphysema or other respiratory disease, immune-compromised, diabetes or any other chronic disease.
You or your child should be FEVER FREE without medication for 24 hours and feeling well enough to return to work or school. Parents are encouraged to plan ahead for alternative child care if their child is sick and has to stay home from school or child care.
Again, staying home when ill, frequent hand washing (for at least 20 seconds) and more stringent disinfecting of tables, doorknobs, etc. is the best way to control the spread of the flu.
The H1N1 flu is being treated exactly like the regular seasonal flu. It is a concern because more people may become ill because it is a new virus to which people do not yet have immunity. BUT it is not causing severe illness in otherwise healthy individuals.
The North Tama School District is working closely with Tama County Public Health to mitigate the spread of the flu. Symptomatic children will be sent home from school. All school employees have increased efforts of disinfection and hand washing. The numbers of ill students is being monitored. At this time there is no indication that school or related activities should be cancelled.
The H1N1 vaccine is not yet available. It is anticipated to be ready by mid-October. Watch newspapers for more information. The seasonal flu shot is available. Contact your regular doctor about receiving it.