WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the H1N1 (swine flu) virus has now spread throughout the United States, the American Red Cross has a set of tips for people who are sick or are taking care of someone who has the flu.
Flu viruses spread from person to person in droplets of coughs or sneezes, and can also spread if a person touches droplets on another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands. To prevent the spread of the flu, it is important to remember to wash your hands and cover your cough or sneeze.
"It's important to know what to do to protect yourself and others when you are taking care of someone who has the flu," said Sharon Stanley, chief nurse and director, Red Cross Disaster Health and Mental Health Services. Recent survey results conducted by the Red Cross reveal that six in ten Americans feel that they need more information about how to care for someone with the flu*. The following tips can be helpful:
If you are ill:
When caring for someone who has the flu:
Caring for someone else can be stressful. Common symptoms of stress include sleep disturbances, headaches, muscle tension or aches, a change in appetite, skin problems, anxiety, depression, frustration and overreacting. If someone is dealing with a lot of stress, it's important to ask for help. If a caregiver is in a stressful situation, they should express their feelings to people they trust, get into a regular schedule of seven to eight hours of sleep, exercise, and take some time to relax.
According to the CDC, most people who have become ill with the H1N1 virus are moderately ill, similar to the illness that occurs during the regular flu season. H1N1 is affecting many young adults and children, people ages five to 24. The majority of people sick with H1N1 don't need testing or treatment. However if someone is severely ill and is pregnant, and has trouble breathing or has an underlying condition like heart disease, lung disease (such as asthma) or diabetes, it is important to get treated promptly within the first 48 hours.
The Red Cross also offers the award-winning Family Caregiving quick reference guide with a companion DVD for purchase on www.RedCrossStore.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
*CARAVAN(R) Opinion Research Corporation conducted three telephone surveys of U.S. Adults on behalf of the American Red Cross, with the most recent in October 2009 (May 1-4, 2009, 1,004 Respondents; July 17-20, 2009, 1,002 Respondents; and October 8-11, 2009, 1,005 Respondents). Margin of error for each is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.
SOURCE American Red Cross
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