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H1N1 Influenza very similar to the Common Cold

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Contact: NEMO


Thursday, September 17, 2009 Every year, persons in St. Lucia and around the world experience flu or the common cold. Flu causes symptoms such as runny nose, cough, fever, body aches and pains, which can be managed with fever reducing medication rest and by drinking fluids like water and fruit juice.


H1N1 influenza is a new virus and can be treated in practically the same way.


Most cases of H1N1 influenza are mild. A few persons, especially persons who suffer from diabetes, asthma, Sickle Cell Disease, obesity and pregnant persons, are at risk for developing more severe illness.


As H1N1 influenza has already been confirmed in St. Lucia, early in the pandemic, testing will now be done for severe cases.


Most persons do not need the antiviral medication called Tamiflu. Tamiflu does not prevent H1N1 influenza but is useful in high risk patients.


Frequent hand washing, sanitization of hard surfaces, and other infection control measures are very important measures in controlling the spread of influenza. Flu viruses spread more easily in settings where persons are in close proximity to each other.


We are presently experiencing outbreaks of flu like illness of varying intensity at a number of schools in the north of the island. The Ministry of Health has deployed two health teams, each comprising a doctor, public health nurse, health educator and environmental health specialist to assess, manage and mitigate the situation at schools.


Persons are reminded that most cases of H1N1 Influenza are mild and can be treated in much the same way that seasonal influenza is treated. Anyone with persistent flu like symptoms should remain away from work or school for at least 7 days, after visiting a medical practitioner.



  1. Cover your mouth when you cough. Cough into tissue and place used tissue in a covered bin. If you have no tissue or napkin, cover your mouth with your sleeve.
  2. Wash your hands frequently. Hand washing helps prevent persons from acquiring the disease and prevents spread of infection.
  3. Visit a health practitioner if you have persistent flu like symptoms.
  4. If you are ill with flu, remain at least 3 feet away from other persons

For more information, please contact the:

Ministry of Health at: (758) 468-5309, (758) 468-5317, (758) 468-5318, (758) 468-5300

Ministry of Education: (758)468-5261/5259/3257

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