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Shaw confirms first H1N1 case

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgts. Kelly Gills, right, and Crystal Watson, 20th Medical Operations Squadron personnel, demonstrate how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus. The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgts. Kelly Gills, right, and Crystal Watson, 20th Medical Operations Squadron personnel, demonstrate how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus. The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Crystal Watson, 20th Medical Operations Squadron, blows her nose as she demonstrates how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus. The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Crystal Watson, 20th Medical Operations Squadron, blows her nose as she demonstrates how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus. The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Kelly Gills, 20th Medical Operations Squadron, seals a specimen transport bag as she demonstrates how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus.  The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Kelly Gills, 20th Medical Operations Squadron, seals a specimen transport bag as she demonstrates how a saline wash is used to collect a mucous sample for the H1N1 influenza virus. The specimen will be used for a culture sample and rapid testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell)(RELEASED)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Team Shaw confirmed its first case of H1N1 flu Tuesday. The infected individual had a relatively mild illness and quickly recovered. 

H1N1 has now been confirmed in all 50 states and is spreading as would be expected for a flu virus. The symptoms in those infected appear to be very similar to the typical seasonal flu and the patients are treated with fluids, decongestants and other upper respiratory medications.

To prevent spreading the virus, we recommend that you make every effort to cover your mouth when coughing, preferably with a handkerchief or shirt sleeve. You should also attempt to avoid unnecessary contact with others, especially if they are exhibiting upper respiratory symptoms.

If you experience a fever above 100.5 with a cough or sore throat, it is recommended that you contact your assigned clinic by phone to allow for appropriate triage and instructions for care. 

People who have difficulty breathing, experience shortness of breath or are believed to be severely ill should seek immediate medical attention.

Airmen, civilian employees, contractors, volunteers and others who develop flu are strongly encouraged to self-isolate in their home for seven days after the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer. 

The 20th MDG will test people with these symptoms with both a rapid flu test and flu cultures. The rapid flu test for H1N1 has not been very accurate, so the definitive diagnosis is delayed several days until the culture returns. Members will continue to be issued a protective mask and asked to don the mask if they have respiratory symptoms. 

The 20th MDG will prescribe Tamiflu or other antivirals if the member's provider determines that the member is significantly ill enough to warrant the treatment. The vast majority of ILI patients recover very quickly without the treatment. 

If cultures are positive, the public health flight will initiate surveillance monitoring and make recommendations on the need for potential future isolation. For more information contact public health at 895-6193.