Swine Flu Cases Growing

Cases of the swine flu continue to crop up in Mississippi and Alabama.

Mississippi has 622 reported cases; Alabama has had 1,587. Those numbers come from each state's department of public health.

As the number of cases grows, it's enough to make people a little bit nervous. But state health officials are saying there's no need for panic.

"We know that it's everywhere in the state, just like it's everywhere in the nation," said Dr. Rebecca "Tree" James, district VI health officer.

James said, at this time, about 98% of all cases of the flu being reported in Mississippi are the H1N1 virus, commonly called swine flu.

"Doctors are seeing it and don't even test for it, because they recognize it when they see it," James said.

Once they recognize it, Dr. James says doctors are just treating it as needed.
She says swine flu is not more deadly than regular flu. But the difference is with the population that it is affecting.

"With seasonal flu, we see 36,000 deaths a year in the U.S. People don't realize how serious regular flu is," said James. "Generally, those that are most affected by that are the very, very young, infants, or the elderly. The problem with the swine flu is that it's hitting a different age group. It's hitting the young people a lot more. So, if we see complications, we're seeing them in young people who usually don't get complications from the flu because they don't get the flu quite as much."

As for the symptoms for the swine flu, Dr. James says they are much like those for regular flu, except that affected individuals often experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

With vaccinations for the H1N1 virus expected to arrive by mid-October, health department officials say there is expected to be an ample amount available to meet the demands of the people.

To help you avoid getting the swine flu, you're advised to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That is long enough to sing the happy birthday song twice.

Another prevention tip is to cough and sneeze into a tissue, and stand at least six feet away from people who are sick.

Finally, parents are being reminded that you set an example for your children when it comes to this type flu prevention behavior.

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