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H1N1 Influenza Outbreak

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May 4, 2009

Message to Department of Commerce Employees on the H1N1 Flu
From the Office of Human Resources Management

The news media continues to report that the H1N1 flu has spread throughout the United States and abroad. During the past several years, comprehensive efforts have been underway across the Federal Government to plan for the possibility of a widespread outbreak of an illness such as the H1N1 flu. Steps are now being taken by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as international groups such as the World Health Organization to control transmission of the H1N1 flu and to minimize its severity.

In this rapidly evolving situation, extra care should be taken to protect your health and the health of your family, friends, and co-workers. Of course, all should try to maximize their individual resistance to illness by getting enough sleep, watching their nutrition, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising regularly, and managing stress.

Taking the following steps will help you remain healthy:

    • Wash your hands often using soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

    • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissues directly in the trash after using them.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as germs are transmitted this way.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If you live in an area where cases of the H1N1 flu have been identified and you develop symptoms such as fever, body aches, lethargy, lack of appetite, sore throat, cough, runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your health care provider to determine what treatment and possible testing is appropriate. Medication is available to treat this flu and a vaccine to protect against it is now under development.

If you become ill:

    • Stay home and allow time to recover

    • Limit your contact with other people to keep from infecting them

    • Contact you health-care provider if experiencing the symptoms noted above

The Office of Human Resources Management / Office of Occupational Safety and Health website provides links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who maintains comprehensive and current information regarding the H1N1 flu on its website, which may be accessed through (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/index.htm). If you have questions, you can send an email to OOSH@doc.gov.

Additionally, we will continue to provide information to all Commerce Department employees as the situation warrants. For additional information, please visit OHRM’s Influenza Information page.