KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- Tennessee public health officials are clear on their objectives: Limit and slow the spread of swine flu and minimize the impact on health. Even though Tennessee has had no confirmed cases of swine flu, health departments across the state are taking precautions to safeguard the public. Forty cases of a new strain of influenza have been reported now in five states. The sickness has been mild in all cases with only one person hospitalized and everyone has fully recovered.
“People are concerned, but there is no reason for alarm at this time, “said Mark Jones, Knox County Health Department director. “Right now, it is being treated much like the regular seasonal flu that we experience every year, because of the lack of complications in cases seen so far.”
Prevention precautions are the same as for seasonal flu: stay at home if you have a fever with cough and/or sore throat; always cover your cough to protect others; and be diligent in washing your hands and keeping your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth to protect yourself.
Treatment recommendations also are the same. Persons with uncomplicated illness should stay home for seven days until fully recovered. Those with high risk for complications should visit their doctor at early onset when antiviral medications such as Tamiflu or Relenza can be given to lessen the severity and duration of the illness. If symptoms worsen, the patient should call their clinician or go to an emergency room. Anyone with flu-like symptoms who has traveled to Mexico in the last seven days should contact their physician.
Public health professionals stress that the situation is fluid and could change as more swine flu cases are reported. As a precautionary measure, Knox County Health Department is prepared to step up its response to protect public health, should the need arise. For questions regarding swine flu, a dedicated communications phone line has been established at 215-5093.