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Swine Flu Text - English

Hello I'm ________, an interpreter here at Harborview,

Many of you are aware there is a new cough/illness that people are talking about and calling "swine-flu" and sometimes "H1N1". You may be confused about this and we want to tell you a few key points."

For those of you who avoid pork and pork products the name seems misleading. This flu has nothing to do with contact with pigs.  You cannot get this from eating pork. The virus normally infects pigs, but somehow changed and was able to infect people. That is why it carries that name.

The sickness is caused by a virus that is very similar to the regular flu and often difficult to distinguish. The person can have cough, sneezing, sore throat, fevers, chills, and in some case nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. If you have these symptoms it could be swine flu or it might be regular flu or even just be a bad cold. The only way to tell is to do special tests, but not everyone needs these.

The infection is passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing and breathing in the virus. You could also spread it by getting it on your hands and touching your mouth or nose or eyes without realizing it.  Therefore, washing your hands and covering your cough are the most important things you can do to prevent getting sick or giving it to your family and friends.

This can not be emphasized enough. Tell your family and friends to:

  • wash hands frequently
  • cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing or cough into your elbow like this,
  • keep sputum in tissues and in the trash,
  • keep sick family in rooms away from others. Especially keep sick people away from babies, old people, and people who are chronically ill. 

Theses are the reasons to come to see the doctor:

  • If you are having trouble breathing
  • If you have a cough and a high fever
  • If you are extremely, unusually tired
  • If you are unable to eat food or liquids without throwing up or having diarrhea

These symptoms are most dangerous to people over 65 or people who have diabetes, kidney, liver or other medical problems.

It is very important that you do not come to see your doctor for an unscheduled appointment unless you are seriously ill.  If many people who are not seriously ill come to the doctor, the doctor will not have the time she needs to take care of very sick patients. 

In order to protect you and others when you come to clinic, we would ask you to do the following things:

  • If you have a cough now, identify yourself to the front desk and put on a mask.
  • You will be asked to have your temperature taken quickly. Please let the staff known if you have been feverish at home.
  • Please do not be offended if you are asked to sit in isolation until we can evaluate you thoroughly.
  • We do not treat mild cases or cases that have been ongoing for several days. In this case we may give you medicine for comfort and then ask you to go home and stay as isolated as possible to allow your body to recover. Return only if you are unable to eat or drink, are having difficulty breathing, or are very ill.
  • Make sure we have a current phone number or means of contacting you so that we can tell you your test results or other information you need to know.
  • Send family or a designated friend to get you refills and Tylenol.

Most cases of swine flu in this country have been mild, and if we are careful we can limit the spread.

Thanks for your attention.