During the past week reports of illness from the flu have increased in Madison County, according to the Madison County Health Department. In particular, the Oneida City School District has witnessed about 600 flu-related absences since Monday Oct. 19 with the high school taking on the most, with 200 absences. Some students exhibited flu symptoms, while other students were absent because of cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat. Symptoms of a flu-like illness includes fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, tiredness, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting.
Several county agencies such as the American Red Cross Madison-Oneida Chapter and the Madison County Health Department have repeatedly announced reminders in the community regarding health precautions that could help prevent the spread of the illness.
These precautions have been advised for those not experiencing symptoms, and especially for those that are taking caring of someone who has flu-like symptoms.
When caring for individuals at home, give them medications such as acetaminophen or Tylenol to help reduce fever, and make sure they get rest and plenty of fluids.
Individuals who are sick should stay at home until his or her fever has disappeared for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
"We realize that many people are concerned because of the increase in flu-like illness occurring in our area," said Eric Faisst, Public Health Director of Madison County Health Department. "That's understandable. It may help to know that for most individuals, novel H1N1 flu will be no worse than the seasonal flu we are used to. Most people recover from seasonal or novel H1N1 flu without needing medical treatment. In fact, most flu patients can be cared for best at home."
After-school activities were cancelled in the Oneida City School District Oct. 19, but further activities will resume their scheduled time for the duration of the week.
For more information on the H1N1 influenza visit madisoncountyhealth.org or call 366-2361