With the recent outbreak of Influenza A (also known as H1N1 or the Swine Flu) in Mexico, other countries, and across the United States, Boone County Hospital (BCH) is taking precautions to make sure patients with symptoms of this strain of the flu are receiving appropriate care, while also making sure healthcare personnel are protected from this illness. BCH is coordinating the management of any influenza cases in Boone County in cooperation with Boone County Public Health and the Iowa Department of Health.
If an individual comes to the BCH Emergency Department (ED), Boone County Family Medicine in Boone or Ogden, or the Madrid Family Practice Clinic, with symptoms of the flu, the staff will be utilizing a screening tool to assist them in assessing and taking care of the patient. Patients with a fever, and cough or sore throat with or without a runny nose or nasal congestion, will be asked to put on a face mask when they enter the ED. If the individual is admitted to BCH with suspected or confirmed Influenza A, all staff will follow strict infection control guidelines which will include wearing special masks, gowns, gloves and hooded gear.
Influenza A is spread through contact between people. The virus is spread when someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes on someone else. You can also pick it up by touching an object, such as a door knob, after an individual who has the virus has touched it.
As with seasonal influenza, Iowans are urged to help prevent the spread of the flu by taking the following precautions:
• When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a trash can.
• Wash hands frequently. Always wash hands after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol based hand gels when hand washing is not possible.
• If you are ill with a respiratory illness (coughing and sneezing), stay home from work or school so you don't make others sick.
• Avoid close contact with others who are coughing or appear to be ill.
• Symptoms of Influenza A include fever (greater than 100 F), along with cough, sore throat, headache and body aches, and extreme tiredness. Diarrhea and vomiting may also be associated with this flu.
• You should call your health care provider and arrange to be seen and tested if you: have a temperature over 100 F, are coughing, have a sore throat, and are extremely tired. Please note, you may be assessed in a non-waiting room area.
If you have questions about Influenza A, please call the Centers for Disease Control Influenza Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 or log on to the Iowa Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.ia.us. A hotline through the Emergency Coordination Center in Des Moines is also available at 1-515-281-6026. In addition, information can be obtained by clicking on the red Fast Command banner at the top of the BCH home page.