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What to Do in Case of H1N1 Flu-like Symptoms

Due to the potential for an outbreak of H1N1 flu, South Nassau Communities Hospital is coordinating with the Nassau County Department of Health and other area hospitals to protect the health of patients, visitors and hospital employees.

“There are certain precautions we should all take to help prevent the spread of viruses,” notes Joshua Kugler, MD, chair of the department of emergency medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside. “Prevention should be everyone’s goal when it comes to H1N1, as well as the seasonal flu. A proactive approach is the most effective way to keep yourself and your family healthy this winter.”

Below are tips regarding good health habits that can help ward off respiratory illnesses like H1N1 or seasonal flu:

1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly – the power to stop the flu virus is literally in your hands. Hands should be washed with warm water for at least 20 seconds, paying special attention to the area in and around the fingernails.

2. Avoid touching your face, especially around the eyes and nose. Germs are often spread when we touch something contaminated and then touch our eyes and/or nose.

3. Steer clear of sick people and cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue, not your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow.

4. If you are sick, stay home. This will help provide the added rest your body requires and also prevent others from being exposed to your germs. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

5. Eat healthy. Keeping one’s immune system strong is vital in fighting illnesses like the flu.

6. Get plenty of rest. Consistent, adequate sleep is vital to overall health and a strong immune system. Eight hours of sleep is the recommended standard.

7. Get fresh air. Once the weather turns cold, we spend more time indoors in homes and/or offices that are often over-heated and lack proper ventilation – the very places where germs tend to circulate. A regular dose of fresh air can do wonders for one’s body and state of mind.

South Nassau’s doors are always open to visitors coming to see a loved one or friend; however, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, coughing, sneezing, runny nose) we ask that you do not visit the hospital until you are fully well.

If you think you or a family member has the flu, South Nassau strongly advises that you contact your primary care physician for instructions. Unless your illness is serious, you should avoid coming to the Emergency Room. Residents who visit the emergency room with flu-like or upper respiratory symptoms will be asked to wear a mask upon entering.

The New York State Department of Health has established a hotline for information on the novel H1N1 influenza vaccine and disease. The hotline handles questions from the public and the medical community on H1N1 disease, vaccines, and how to obtain the vaccine. To access the hotline, call 1-800-808-1987.

In addition, Nassau County has established its own hotline for information on H1N1 influenza. To access the Nassau County hotline, call 888-684-4271. The hotline is staffed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

South Nassau Communities Hospital is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 435 beds, more than 875 physicians and 2,600 employees. Located in Oceanside, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health and emergency services. In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, South Nassau is a designated Stroke Center, boasts Long Island’s first and only Gamma Knife and provides emergency and elective angioplasty. South Nassau is designated as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons and is recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery.

For more information, visit www.southnassau.org.