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County health department issues statement on swine flu

PLATTSBURGH - The ever-evolving topic of the swine flu epidemic in Mexico City has prompted communities across the United States to respond, including ones within the North Country.

Though no cases of the condition have been reported in Clinton County to date, the Clinton County Health Department is monitoring local flu activity and has issued a statement regarding the symptoms of swine flu.

Symptoms are similar to those of regular season influenza and include fever, extreme tiredness, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flue have also reported having a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Antiviral drugs are available that are effective and available for treating swine flu, the department noted.

The county health department notes it is still the ordinary flu season within New York State, though if suffering from swine flu symptoms, one is encouraged to contact a doctor. Swine flu may also cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Swine flu is spread by direct contact with people who are infected. Measures to prevent the spread of both seasonal flu and swine flu include:

• washing hands often with soap and warm water

• using alcohol-based hand cleansers when soap and water are unavailable

• staying home from work or school if sick • using tissues when coughing, sneezing or spitting and disposing of the tissue in a covered trash receptacle and immediately washing hands or coughing or sneezing into your sleeve

• keeping hands away from face and avoiding touching eyes nose or mouth

• cleaning surfaces in shared spaces such as phone receivers, keyboards and office equipment

Additionally, the health department urges people not to share personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels and to not visit infants, the elderly or the sick. Also, keeping a distance of six feet from others when coughing or sneezing is recommended.

The department also notes it is not possible to contract swine flu from consuming pork properly cooked to an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or, if ground pork, 158 degrees

For more information about swine flu and precautionary measures, visit www.clintonhealth.org, www.nyhealth.gov or www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

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