Health News

Sarasota reports 7th swine flu death

Swine flu has claimed its seventh victim in Sarasota County, a 51-year-old male with underlying medical conditions.

The H1N1 virus has killed three people in Manatee County.

The Sarasota County Health Department said Friday it had received laboratory confirmation of the latest death.

Manatee has not recorded an H1N1 death since October.

The Manatee deaths include a 37-year-old woman in October, and two women in September, ages 83 and 27.

“Flu activity remains less than expected for this time of year; however, H1N1 influenza is still present in our community,” said Dr. William Heymann in a press release.

Heymann, medical executive director for the Sarasota County Health Department, said H1NI can be a serious and even fatal disease especially in children, pregnant women and among those living with chronic health conditions.

Precautions against the disease include:

n Getting the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. Residents getting the vaccine will be protected within about two weeks of vaccination.

n Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or using the inside of the elbow.

n Washing hands for 20 seconds using soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective against the flu.

n Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth before washing your hands. Germs spread this way.

n Avoiding close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.

n Staying home if you are sick and keep children home from school or daycare if they are sick.

H1N1 vaccine is available at the Manatee County Health Department, 410 Sixth Ave. E., Bradenton, five days a week.

For more information about the vaccine, call 748-0747, ext. 1269.