As more cases of swine flu are announced practically daily by various news bureaus, Beth Israel Medical Center on Kings Highway is working diligently to prevent future outbreaks, said Rhona Hetsrony, Beth Israel’s Vice President.
She spoke at a recent meeting of the Fraser Civic Association about ways to prevent the spread of the virus, also known as H1N1, how the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control (CDC) are responding to it and predictions of future strains.
“Beth Israel is working with the CDC right now and it is anticipated that the flu will be back in the fall with a vengeance. It will be an even stronger strain than the one we just saw that was initiated in Mexico. So far there has been 2600 cases in the United States in 44 states. There were 30 countries with over 5200 cases of this particular strain of flu which led the World Health Organization to declare a stage 5 pandemic. Stage 6 is the highest.”
Hetsrony announced the CDC has a vaccine in the works. While it takes two weeks for it to take effect, the protection will last for four weeks. Due to the existence of the average flu vaccine, there will be no need to be vaccinated twice. The original flu vaccine will include the swine flu version.
She went on to state, “If you are experiencing flu−like symptoms, then the best thing to do is to stay home. The more you come out, the more other people will get infected. If you’re not feeling well, then stay home and contact your doctor. If you really start to get sick, if you get a high fever, very achy, then come on in to the emergency room. The best prevention is to wash your hands. Wash your hands every day. You can’t imagine how many germs are on your hands. Also, if you cough or sneeze then cover your mouth.”
On hand for the discussion, pediatric physician Dr. Dexter McKenzie added, “Hand washing has probably saved more lives than any other medical procedure. This virus connects to the lungs. It goes through your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. Do not touch your face with your hands. Get into the habit of washing your hands every day. Use common sense. If a friend, coworker, or relative is coughing and sneezing and has a fever then be careful around them.”