Although there are no probable or confirmed cases of H1N1 (swine) flu in Clallam County, the county health department, in coordination with the state of Washington, is staging medications in case there are cases that need treatment or preventive care.
Clallam County has received its allotment of antiviral medications and medical supplies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Strategic National Stockpile, to be used if there is a public health emergency that might cause local supplies to run out.
The allotment includes antiviral medications (Tamiflu and Relenza), masks, gloves and gowns. The county health department has distributed 50 percent of the medication allotment, enough to treat about 1,250 people, to Jim's Pharmacy, Rite Aid-Lincoln Pharmacy, QFC Pharmacy and Chinook Pharmacy.
The medications can be distributed only to patients with specific prescriptions that soon will be in doctor's offices and clinics along with guidelines on when the medications should be prescribed.
A Snohomish County man in his 30s with underlying heart conditions died last week with what appears to be complications of H1N1 influenza. Typically, people with existing health conditions are at greater risk of serious health effects from influenza.
While this marks the first death in Washington related to swine flu, the case counts are expected to continue rising.
Flu symptoms often include fever, muscle aches, cough and sometimes difficulty breathing. It's important for people who are sick with flu-like symptoms to stay home.
If they become seriously ill, they should call their health care provider to determine if they need to be seen. Medical attention typically is not required for runny nose or nasal stuffiness, low-grade fever (less than 100 degrees) for fewer than three days, mild headache or body aches and mild stomach upset.
For more information, call Christina Hurst, Clallam County public health manager and emergency response coordinator, at 417-2364.
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