Lone Star College System Community, Public health professionals around the world and locally continue to monitor the swine (H1N1) flu outbreak. This virus outbreak continues to grow in the United States and internationally. The World Health Organization (WHO) has elevated the alert level from Phase 4 to Phase 5 because of growing concerns related to the outbreak. A Phase 5 alert “…is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region and this spread is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent…” (WHO, 2009). Sixteen cases have been confirmed in Texas to date, including the death of a toddler brought to Houston for treatment and a teen who is now recovering. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. If you or someone you know should become ill, this individual should stay home from work or school, delay international travel, and limit contact with others. For people developing symptoms following international travel, these individuals should seek medical attention. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies recommend that you contact your healthcare provider. To avoid contracting this type of influenza there are everyday actions we can take to stay healthy:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective when soap and water is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Seek medical attention if you develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Visit the links below to learn more about the H1N1 virus and measures you can take:
- Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services: http://www.hcphes.org/ or by calling (713) 212-0200 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Texas Department of State Health Services: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/
LSCS will continue to monitor the situation, work with our community partners, and update our Web site, http://www.lonestar.edu/, as more information becomes available. We appreciate your support in keeping our community informed. Be Prepared…Stay Safe!Dr. Denise Walker
Chief Security Officer