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Apr 30, 2009

Healthy Living gives an overview of the Influenza A (H1N1)

Story PictureThe World Health Organization today announced that it would no longer be using the term “Swine Flu” but instead will be using the scientific name Influenza A (H1N1) to avoid confusion surrounding the origin and transmission of the virus. In Belize, just as around the world, there has been much attention focused on the epidemic as its spreads across borders. Many Belizeans are still seeking information on the intricacies of the illness. Healthy Living this week seeks to provide a basic overview of the Influenza A (H1N1).

Marleni Cuellar
Whether choosing to worry now or worry later, one thing most Belizeans can agree on now is to take all necessary precautions now.

Concern Citizen # 1
Well, nobody wants be to sick”

Concern Citizen # 2
“It’s kinda dangerous and they seh ih no have cure, so.”

Concern Citizen # 3
“Well I very concerned about it because right now I come from Belmopan and I was in the bank, and this lady went to the counter and she was coughing and she was sneezing and so the people behind the counter got scared. So, what I did I took out my sanitizer and I started to wipe my hands. I’m very concern about it.”

Concern Citizen # 4
“I’m more concerned about my kids personally cause what I’ve learnt based on what the medical practitioners are saying is that it’s not as deadly but it’s real painful. I’m very very worried.”

Concern Citizen # 5
“We should be worried about it because it’s spreading very quickly.”

Concern Citizen # 6
“I no worry bout it—to me—I no worry bout that because as something come in everybody get jumpy, so that no matta to me, as long as I tek care ah my hand and do the right thing, I straight.”

Concern Citizen # 7
“If sever cases eena Belize then yes, we need to worry about it, all us.”

Concern Citizen # 8
“I no have no concerns over it because da how yo keep yoself, no. Wash yo hand and make sure that yo no come in contact with any contamination, no.”

Concern Citizen # 9
“Its right in Mexico. We’re very close to it so any could be—happen.”

Marleni Cuellar
Whether choosing to worry now or worry later, one thing most Belizeans can agree on now is to take all necessary precautions now.

Concern Citizen # 10
“I guess I wash my hand more.”

Concern Citizen # 1
“Wash mi hand every time. Every minute I was mi hand, bathe, thing like that. Be careful of things that are—you shake hands, you hold a lot of stuff during out here and you don’t know which is which, so wash yo hands, as yo get, wash yo hands good.”

Concern Citizen # 4
“I’ve bought hand sanitizers, I’ve been buying wipes, I’ve bought my mask. So, I’m fine.”

Concern Citizen # 3
“I try to back my hand sanitizer with me. If anybody is coughing or sneezing, I try to keep far from them.”

Concern Citizen # 11
“you mek sure you got your hand sanitizer you mek sure you got your wipes your alcohol whenever you try fi tend to anybody you mek sure you wash your hands. Be pan di safe side.”

Yet amidst all the media attention both locally and internationally there still are some crucial lingering questions and concerns.

Concern Citizen # 11
“You mek sure you got your hand sanitizer you mek sure you got your wipes your alcohol whenever you try fi tend to anybody you mek sure you wash your hands. Be pan di safe side.”

Concern Citizen # 12
“I would like to clarify if we can catch the flu by eating the pork. I heard a man say that you can’t catch eat by eating the pork but some people are saying that yes, you can.”

Concern Citizen # 13
“How quick, why people dead so quick. Why di bacteria tek your body so quick they must have some kinda medication you could tek fast.”

Concern Citizen # 14
“What da di real symptoms cause I listen to the news and I still no hear what da di symptoms you know as per say.”

Concern Citizen # 15
“I da wah know more bout how you ketch di the swine flu”

To address some of these concerns we sat down with Dr. Fernando Cuellar to get some of the basic questions about the swine flu answered.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“Swine Flu is a respiratory illness, meaning it’s a disease that will affect your lungs and your airways, your nasal passage, your throat that part primarily but it also affects but al so affects your digestive system. So you can have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and in general makes you feel bad if you would have any cold or common flu like symptoms. Many people in Belize from all different walks of life know what a flu is or at least felt a flu or known somebody with a flu or heard somebody with a flu.”
It has to be stated categorically meaning without a doubt that it is not coming from pigs or pork so yo could eat yo pigtail safely. We’re catching it from person to person this particular virus. This is a new virus by the way. Unfortunately, it got it’s got confused at the beginning and they stared calling it swine Flu because it resembles the skin virus that originally cause Swine Flu which indeed come from the pig population but this one ya definitely is difference and we’re catching it from person to person.”

Ministry of Health officials and other health care professionals have stressed the importance in recognizing the symptoms of the flu. Dr Cuellar explains that the symptoms of the H-one-N-one influenza A are not much different than that of a seasonal flu.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“When there is cough cold runny nose, headache, fever, bruk-up feeling, loss of appetite, a little bit of upset stomach and maybe the bowels are a little bit looser than usual and that’s it. It’s basically that same thing hard to differentiate between the swine flu and the seasonal or the regular flu or regular cough and cold in terms of the symptoms that we face.”

Though the symptoms of the H-one-N-one influenza A may be similar to a flu; it warrants such global concern for several reasons.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“What’s happen is its highly contagious and its moving from human to human quite rapidly and it has spread all over the world by now and it has led to certain deaths and different from the other types of flu. It seems to be affecting people that are otherwise healthy.”

The purpose of the public awareness and surveillance practices in place is to prevent the spread of the disease. Dr. Cuellar explains how the treatment, like Tamiflu and Rodnaza would impact the illness.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“When you catch it, you are given anti-viral for example when you have other types if illnesses like bacterial infection you’ll be give an anti-biotic. In these types of illnesses you are given anti-viral and Tamiflu is just that but you have to be prescribed by a physician or any other qualifies health worker that when you have the disease you get this treatment. You don’t take it sort of preventative, you don’t take it before time. What it does is kills the virus and brings it down to a minimum quantity so it doesn’t cause the whole problem with the lungs respiratory failure and all of that so its shown to be effective both in Tamiflu and the other high end one, the Rodanza. Persons should be concerned, worried to an extent but there’s no need for panic. One of the things I want to say if you would ever catch this virus its not meaning that you’re gonna catch it two o’clock and then you’re gonna die by four o’clock, ok. You’ll be exposed to it, you’ll start with your symptoms, it will give you enough time within the twenty-four hours to go and see your healthcare worker, so you’re not just gonna catch it and fall down and die.”

And in the theme of prevention we leave you with these tips of do’s and don’ts.

Wash your hands frequently
Avoid crowded places
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Stay more than one arm’s length distance from persons sick with flu
Get plenty of sleep
Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food

Shake hands, hug or kiss in greeting
Spit in public
Take medicines without consulting a physician

If you are sick, PLEASE
Stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible
Rest and take plenty of liquids
Call Hotline at 629 5604 between 8am and 8pm
Seek out your doctor as soon as possible.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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