Protecting Ourselves from H1N1

We should protect ourselves and other family members from getting the infection.

I. How do we protect ourselves and others from getting infected by the influenza A(H1N1) virus?

If we have family members who are sick, we should:

i. Improve personal hygiene for all: We should clean their hands often, especially before touching our nose, mouth and eyes, using soap and water or hand sanitisers. After that, we should dry our hands with paper towels or dedicated cloth towels. Commonly used household items or frequently touched surfaces should also be cleaned regularly with detergent.

ii. Stay home: We should advise persons with influenza-like illness not to leave home before they are symptom-free, especially when they are still having fever. (Patients are likely to spread the virus from one day before they develop symptoms to up to seven days after they get sick. They are most infectious when they are having fever.)

iii. Keep your distance: We should avoid being face-to-face with the sick person. When holding small children who are sick, we should place their chins on our shoulders so that they will not cough in our faces. Household contacts, especially those who are at high risk (see below), should try to stay at least 1 meter away from the patient, whenever possible.

iv. Wear a mask: If a person with the influenza-like illness needs to leave the home (e.g for medical care), they should wear a surgical mask, and practise cough etiquette and good hand hygiene.

v. Try not to share: It is preferable for the sick individual to stay in a room separate from other household members, whenever possible. Linen, eating utensils and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first with water and soap.

Adapted from The Star Newspaper