State has first H1N1 death, what can you do to stay safe? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State has first H1N1 death, what can you do to stay safe?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Cobb County woman has died from the H1N1 virus.  It's the state's first Swine Flu death. Health officials say the 43-year old woman had an underlying health condition when she contracted the virus.

Hospitals and pharmacies are preparing now for what even President Obama warned could be a widespread outbreak of H1N1 and season flu later this year.

The best way to avoid any type of flu, be it the H1N1, commonly referred to as the swine flu, or the seasonal flu, and in turn being admitted to the hospital, is to perform one critical action frequently: wash your hands. And if you do get sick, stay at home to avoid passing along the illness.

As a pharmacy student, Jane Chang is around sick folks all the time, so when it's time for her flu vaccine, you better believe, she's first in line. "If you're a health care worker like me, I'm around you guys, sick people, all day, so I definitely make sure I get my flu vaccine every year and I wash my hands all the time," she said.

And she says if more folks will follow her lead, they may be able to avoid the flu as well. "The biggest thing is definitely to wash your hands all the time. Anything you touch, door handles, your pens, anything you touch anybody else will share with you, make sure you wash your hands and wash that stuff as well."

Nurse David Ragin works at Palmyra Medical Center in Infection Control. He says the medical community world-wide has been preparing for a pandemic flu for years, and he feels confident they are ready to handle an outbreak.

Ragin said, "We do feel like we are very prepared to accept patients on a large scale." But he hopes if there is an outbreak, that folks who get sick will stay away from others. He says employers need to do their part and demand sick employees stay home.

Ragin added, "They need to really concentrate and really focus in on their employees, don't let them come to work sick, that's something they have to be charged with."

The federal government is planning an H1N1 vaccination campaign aimed at young children that could start in the fall. So far... H1N1 has affected more children than adults.  

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