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With at least seven cases of swine flu confirmed in California, and more cases including one in Sacramento County awaiting laboratory confirmation, Placer County’s Public Health Division is reminding residents to use extra care to avoid contracting the flu.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency, is the official source of information on prevention and treatment of the disease. The CDC has released the following list of simple actions people can take to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of the disease:

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ย• Cover your cough: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash.
ย• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
ย• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to avoid spreading germs.
ย• If you are sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with other people.
ย• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

For the most up-to-date information, including information on international and domestic cases, visit the CDC website.

There is no vaccine currently available to prevent this flu, however some antiviral medications have been helpful to patients. Most cases in the US have been less severe than those in Mexico where 1,300 related illnesses and more than 100 deaths have been reported over the last month.

The CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the nation’s response to this health threat, and the U.S. Department of Health Services has declared a public health emergency. Additionally the CDC is making available up to one quarter of the antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment and respiratory protection devices stored as part of the Strategic National Stockpile to help states respond to the outbreak. .

Placer County officials will continue to work with hospitals, local health care providers, school officials, state and federal agencies and other groups as needed to watch for evidence of the virus in the community, and will recommend appropriate infection control steps including social distancing if needed to limit the spread of the virus. Officials will make sure that child care providers and other stakeholders are updated of the situation.

Placer County agencies have been involved in planning for a flu outbreak for several years, and have most recently planned additional drills with local hospitals in June.

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