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The number of new influenza A(H1N1) cases can be decreased - UNICEF

UNICEF is deeply concerned following the recent reports of deaths owing to influenza A(H1N1), and hospitalisation of reported severe additional cases, in Ukraine. UNICEF is closely collaborating with the national Ministry of Health to assess the situation, and provide technical expertise drawing upon global expertise and experience in addressing the pandemic. UNICEF is disseminating information on preventive measures. We call upon the national authorities to take necessary actions to protect the citizens of Ukraine, especially vulnerable groups such as children, young adolescents, and pregnant women.

Knowing more about Influenza A(H1N1) and sticking to key rules can prevent further spread of influenza A(H1N1) and minimize consequences of the pandemic.

It is important to remember that the main route of transmission of influenza A(H1N1) is similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. The risk of infection can be minimized by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:

  • avoid touching your mouth and nose;
  • clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis;
  • reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • keep yourself warm;
  • practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active;
  • do not wear a mask if not being sick;
  • wear a mask when being in close contact with the ill person, dispose of it immediately in a separate container after contact and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards;
  • cover your mouth and nose when being sick and having to travel;
  • get immunized against seasonal influenza as well as pandemic influenza as soon as vaccine is available in the country.

Get yourself familiarized in detail with recommendations on personal protection:

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat take the following measures:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • if you belong to the risk groups (children, pregnant women, people with severe chronic diseases) and have even a minimal symptoms address you physician;
  • if you do not belong to risk groups (children, pregnant women, people with severe chronic diseases) and have mild symptoms of disease, stay home and take usual symptomatic treatment like in case of any influenza like disease. Let doctor come to your home or keep in touch with doctor on the phone. Do not go to polyclinic to reduce the risk of virus spread;
  • if you have severe symptoms (high temperature, strong cough, difficulties to breathe, pain in the chest), immediately contact your doctor, call the ambulance or go directly to the admission room of the hospital. The earlier treatment will be started the easier it will be to treat the illness;
  • if possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to decide whether it is necessary for your to travel to the hospital;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends and protect them.

At the moment there are 2 types of drugs effective against influenza A(H1N1) – oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Drugs should be used only upon doctor’s prescription in severe cases and among risk groups.

As of 25 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 440,000 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)  2009 and nearly 5700 deaths reported to WHO.



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