Precaution is better than cure

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    A lot has been said about the new influenza virus A (H1N1). Reported cases in the country are in the news every now and then. The Department of Health (DOH) recently cited in their website that there are 46 new cases under observation (CUO) even as their laboratory results are still pending.

    According to the DOH, 285 CUO were monitored this year. Of which, 16 were confirmed positive for Influenza A (H1N1) infection. This means that the public should be aware that the virus can now be contracted from people we meet at home, at work or at public places everyday. The threat of virus transfer is not limited only to people coming from abroad.

    Although experts have yet to know how easily the virus spreads between people, one thing is for sure – it is contagious and spreading from human to human. Just like your ordinary flu, A (H1N1) can be contracted through coughing, sneezing or touching something with flu viruses.

    Its symptoms are likewise similar to that of the regular flu which  include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting (in some cases). But in a recent report, it was said that others who were infected experienced body aches, chill but not fever. The symptoms could vary from person to person.

    So given its propensity to spread easily and fast, it is better for the public to be prepared. Precaution is indeed better than cure. There are simple ways how to avoid contracting A (H1N1) virus. It is important to wash hands regularly; maintain a distance of at least three feet from other people whenever possible; get plenty of sleep; be physically active; drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food; exercise; avoid people who are coughing or sneezing; avoid crowds; refrain from touching potentially contaminated surfaces; refrain from touching your mouth, nose and ears; pay attention to hygiene; and regularly clean surfaces that may have become contaminated with virus like door knobs, phones, keyboards and flat surfaces. But if you already have the symptoms, run to your doctor for a check-up.

    Most of the government and private entities have already started measures how to protect their workers from contracting the virus. At the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in all entrances of their buildings in the wake of reports that two patients are confined in a regional hospital in Pampanga for possible infection of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

    Dr. Clemencita Dobles, manager of the CDC Health and Safety Department, encouraged employees to use the hand sanitizers now available in all entrances of CDC buildings.

    She added that security guards stationed at their respective posts have been advised to encourage CDC guests to use the hand sanitizers as well. Employees of locators and investors inside the Freeport will also be encouraged to practice the frequent using of hand sanitizers.

    This is a good step for CDC considering the estimated 50,000 workers working inside the Freeport zone, who usually work in closed spaces where an A (H1N1) virus carrier can easily infect another.

    Dobles, however, cautioned employees to be wary of false or misleading text messages on so-called “confirmed” reports of Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in Pampanga. She was referring to the text messages that circulated last week that claimed of “confirmed” cases at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital (JBLMH) in the City of San Fernando.

    Dobles maintained that the JBLMH does not confirm A (H1N1) cases since it is only among the three referral centers in Central Luzon. The other two are the Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research & Medical Center in Cabanatuan City and the Bataan Provincial General Hospital.

    Referral centers merely administer a swab test on the patient’s throat and send the samples to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) – the hospital authorized to confirm if the samples sent are infected with the new human flu virus or not.

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