News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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H1N1 (swine) flu now in northwest Michigan
Stay home if you're sick and avoid the emergency room unless you're seriously ill

(October 15, 2009) According to public health officials, H1N1 (swine) flu has arrived in northwest Michigan and most people should stay home from work, school, or day care if they are sick to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus.

"H1N1 symptoms are similar to seasonal flu symptoms, with fever, sore throat, and body aches for four to six days and a cough that can persist for two weeks," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Healthy people usually recover from H1N1 flu without medical treatment."

"Most people with flu symptoms should stay home--so they don't spread the virus--and take fever-reducing medicines, drink lots of fluids, and get rest. People who are likely to develop complications should call their health care provider about whether they need to be examined if they develop flu symptoms; for example, pregnant women, children younger than five, especially children younger than two, and people who have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease."

"And unless you are very ill, you probably do not need to go to the emergency room. Anti-viral medication is generally only needed for people at high risk of complications from the flu. If you are concerned, call your doctor," Meyerson added.

There are emergency warning signs that require medical care right away. In children, warning signs include: In adults, watch for difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, and/or severe or persistent vomiting.

Medical care for people who are low-income, uninsured, or covered by Medicaid is available in Antrim County at the Bellaire Family Health Center and Central Lake Family Health Center; in Charlevoix County at the Boyne City Free Clinic and East Jordan Family Health Center; and in Emmet County at the Community Free Clinic in Petoskey and the Community Health Center of Northern Michigan, located between Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

The best protection against seasonal and H1N1 influenza is vaccination. Meyerson said the Health Department expects its first shipment of H1N1 vaccine at the end of the month. H1N1 flu shot clinics are being scheduled now at schools and community sites in most towns in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties in early November.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information, including tentative dates for H1N1 flu shot clinics, visit or call 800-432-4121.