DoDEA OSS: H1N1 (Swine) Flu Update
CDC has issued updated interim guidance for schools K-12. Based on the severity of 2009 H1N1 flu-related illness thus far, this guidance recommends that students and staff with influenza-like illness remain home until 24 hours after resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs.
Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. CDC recommends that they wear a surgical mask, if possible, and that those who care for ill students and staff wear protective gear such as a mask. Schools should contact their medical treatment facility for a supply of surgical masks.
The new recommendations emphasize the importance of the basic foundations of influenza prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).
People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications is very important for people at high risk because it can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems, or have neuromuscular diseases.
Parents and guardians should monitor their school-aged children, and faculty and staff should self-monitor every morning for symptoms of influenza-like illness.
H1N1 Influenza Information
H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of H1N1 flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get H1N1 flu, but human infections can and do happen. Most commonly, human cases of H1N1 flu happen in people who are around pigs but it's possible for H1N1 flu viruses to spread from person to person also.
The symptoms of H1N1 in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with H1N1 also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
To diagnose H1N1 influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be contagious). However, some persons, especially children, may be infectious for 10 days or longer. Confirmation as a H1N1 influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.
Vaccination and Treatment for H1N1 Virus in Humans
The vaccine is available as of October but availability varies by location. Questions about the vaccine can be found in CDC website : 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine
Also there is more information about the vaccines from Flu.Gov Website.
If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious influenza complications. In treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started as soon after getting sick as possible, and might not work if started more than 48 hours after illness starts.
Influenza antiviral drugs also can be used to prevent influenza when they are given to a person who is not ill, but who has been or may be near a person with swine influenza. When used to prevent the flu, antiviral drugs are about 70% to 90% effective. When used for prevention, the number of days that they should be used will vary depending on a person's particular situation.
There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the U.S. for the treatment of influenza. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ®) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza ®) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with H1N1 influenza viruses. The other two antivirals, amantadine and rimantadine, are ineffective for treating the most recent H1N1 flu viruses in humans.