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Fighting the Flu at Your Facility

By Laura Kuhn

At this point, it's not a question of if H1N1 is going to pay a visit to your facility - it's when.

The scope of the problem

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently estimated that there have been 57 million cases of H1N1 flu in the United States so far and that about 11,690 of those have resulted in death.1 The good news for long-term care providers is that H1N1 seems to be disproportionately affecting younger people (33 million of the 57 million cases have occurred in people between the ages of 18 and 64, compared to 5 million cases in people 65 years and older).1

However, this doesn't mean that caregivers don't need to remain vigilant. H1N1 can be deadly, especially for people with underlying conditions such as asthma, arthritis, lupus, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS and kidney disease.2 If individuals with any of these conditions develop flu-like symptoms, they should immediately contact their healthcare providers or seek medical care.2

H1N1 was first detected in the United States in April of 2009 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in June of 2009.3 A pandemic is a global disease outbreak that can rapidly spread to all parts of the world.

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