First Swine Flu Case Confirmed in Flathead County

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County has its first case of H1N1 swine flu.

County health officials received test results from the state laboratory today confirming the county’s first case in a child. The child is recovering, according to a press release from Flathead County Health Officer Joe Russell.

“It was only a matter of time before we would see H1N1 in our community,” Russell said in the release. “We would like to take this opportunity to remind individuals, if you have the flu, stay home and make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect others in the community.”

As of June 17 the state was reporting 44 cases of swine flu in Montana spread throughout 11 counties and 17,855 cases and 44 deaths in the country. Flathead’s case will be added to the state total at the next reporting date.

Local health officials encourage citizens to use the same judgment they would during the seasonal flu to determine if they need medical care. If they feel they need to consult their healthcare provider, people are encouraged to call first and describe their symptoms.

The symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, headache, or fatigue. The Centers for Disease Control has also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 influenza. Like seasonal flu, the H1N1 strain may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing or infected people, according to the release. The health department recommends the following tips to stay healthy: cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or a sleeve when you cough or sneeze and dispose of tissues in the trash; wash your hands often with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes or mouth.

For up to date information visit the Flathead City-County Health Department’s Web site at www.flatheadhealth.org and click on “Health Alerts,” or call 751-8101 or 751-8110 for more information.

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