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Posted: May 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: USATF News & Notes, Volume 9, Number 22

THE FOLLOWING UPDATE IS FROM JOHN REASONER, MD, USOC MEDICAL DIRECTOR

In an effort to be proactive and keep you updated on recent developments in regards to the swine influenza (swine flu), please review the following overview to assist in answering questions you may have. In addition, I've included reference websites for more information.

General Overview:
Human cases of swine influenza virus infection have been identified in the United States. Swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection also has been identified internationally, primarily in Mexico where more than 1,600 people are believed to have been infected.

The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person by respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. An infected person's cough or sneeze droplets are propelled through the air and deposited on people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose. So wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face!

As with any disease, the key is to not become infected. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those caused by other influenza viruses. These include fever and chills, coughing, sore throat, and fatigue. Sometimes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also occur. Essentially, you should avoid people with symptoms consistent with swine flu (or other respiratory diseases) and simply practice good hygiene.

Stay Healthy and Follow These Guidelines:

  • 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 hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you or your teams are leaving the US make sure that you use the MEDEX resources to identify any health related issues. We should all be doing this regardless of the current state of affairs. Visit the MEDEX website and print the MEDEX card for you and your team members. If you do not utilize MEDEX or have non-USOC people traveling with you, consider purchasing MEDEX insurance.

People with swine flu should:

  • Check with a health care provider about any special care they might need if they have a health condition such as diabetes or asthma
  • Be isolated away from their teammates
  • Check with a health care provider about whether they should take antiviral medications
  • Stay home for 7 days after the start of illness and fever is gone
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated
  • Avoid close contact with others - do not go to work or school while ill
  • Be watchful for emergency warning signs that might indicate you need to seek medical attention

Seek Emergency Medical Care When the Sick Individual:

  • Has difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Has temperature over 101◦
  • Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
  • Has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination
  • Has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
  • Is less responsive than normal or becomes confused

Additional Resources:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • CDC - Travelers Health
  • MEDEX

If you have specific questions please contact me directly at 719.866.4813 or john.reasoner@usoc.org or contact your Sport Performance Team Leader as I can easily work through them. In addition, I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Thank you.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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