Seven more people infected with H1N1 or swine flu have died, bringing the toll related to the virus in the country to 51.
The Health Ministry said in a statement today the seven patients died over the past week and all had other health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension or weak immune systems.
Among those who died are two boys - one aged 4 months, the other 4 years. Malaysia has reported more than 2,250 swine flu cases since May.As you already know, this is a pandemic. We are no longer in the containment phase, and have moved to the mitigation phase. This means that public health officials have conceded that the H1N1 virus is too widespread to make containment a feasible consideration. It can no longer be contained.
So, local health authorities are now focusing on treating those badly afflicted with the disease.
So, we can't stop the spread. It is now really up to us to make sure that we do not get infected by taking preventive measures and precautions ourselves.
Practise social distancing -- that is keeping a physical distance from other people to slow down the spread.
Avoid crowded places and take better care of our personal hygiene such as washing our hands regularly (with alcohol-based hand sanitizers).
I know we've been deluged with all sorts of materials on the Influenza A and the measures we should take.
Here's just a reminder because a lot of people are still so laid back.
Just the other evening, I was at Rasta in Taman Tun Dr Ismail with a friend to have dinner. After we sat down, the usual bevy of waiters/waitresses descended upon us. Onewaitress (from the nasi ayam stall) was sniffling and wiping her nose with the back of her hands. We didn't realize it at first, until after we had ordered our nasi ayam.
We could see that she was not well. We looked at each other, concerned.
"I think we should cancel our nasi ayam. The poor girl is not well and she's preparing our food," I said.
We turned to look at her and could see that she was wiping her nose with her hand constantly, and sniffling, while dishing out the rice.
Not on, we thought. And canceled our orders. And everything else and quickly made an exit.
- Encourage sick workers to stay home and away from the workplace, and provide flexibility.
- Encourage infection control practices in the workplace by displaying posters that address and remind workers about proper hand washing, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette.
- Provide written guidance (email, etc.) oninfluenza A (H1N1) flu appropriate for the language and literacy levels of everyone in the workplace. Employers should work closely with local and state public health officials to ensure they are providing the most appropriate and up-to-date information.
- Provide sufficient facilities for hand washing and alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizers (or wipes) in common workplace areas such as lobbies, corridors, and restrooms.
- Provide tissues, disinfectants, and disposable towels for employees to clean their work surfaces, as well as appropriate disposal receptacles for use by employees.
- One study showed that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface. To reduce the chance of spread of the l influenza A (H1N1) virus, disinfect commonly-touched hard surfaces in the workplace, such as work stations, counter tops, door knobs, and bathroom surfaces by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you have symptoms of influenza-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick.
- Employees who are well but who have an ill family member at home withH1N1 flu can go to work as usual. These employees should monitor their health every day, notify their supervisor and stay home if they become ill. Employees who have an underlying medical condition or who are pregnant should call their health care provider for advice, because they might need to receive influenza antiviral drugs to prevent illness.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers* can be used if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. If an employee suspects that they have been exposed to a sick person with novel H1N1 influenza they may continue to go to work as usual. These employees should monitor their health every day and should notify their supervisor and stay home if they become ill.