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Has the Flu Come for You?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

With the incidences of reported flu cases across the country officially reaching epidemic proportions, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the influenza vaccine as the best means of defense. In the meantime, health officials are scrambling to cope with the outbreak. To date this year, 50 children have died from the flu, with hundreds of adult deaths reported across the country from the virus and associated complications. The illness has sickened more than 6,600, which is the number of lab-confirmed flu cases nationwide. Health officials estimate actual infection rates are much higher.

Flu describes influenza as: “a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. The virus usually enters the body through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes. When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you’ve touched a contaminated surface like a telephone or a doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth. Of course, the risk of infection is greater in highly populated areas like schools, buses, and crowded urban settings.

Here are Some More Facts about the Flu

  • Flu season typically peaks in the United States between October and March, with February historically its most active month.
  • Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a number of flu viruses, including H1N1, which killed 284,000 people worldwide in 2009 and 2010.
  • A Wausau, Wisconsin man, aged 43, died just this week from H1N1, after being sent home with from his doctor’s office with instructions to drink plenty of fluids and rest.
  • Between 5 percent and 20 percent of people living in the U.S. get the flu each year.
  • Symptoms can be mild or severe and include fever, a cough, sore throat, weakness, headache and aches and pains in the joints and muscles around the eyes.
  • Serious complications include (but are not limited to) bacterial pneumonia, ear or sinus infections, dehydration or worsening of chronic health conditions.
  • To date, since October 1, 2013, the CDC has documented 1,583 laboratory-confirmed cases.
  • Although there is currently no vaccine created specifically for the current outbreak of H1N1, getting an annual flu shot remains the first line of defense against the virus.
  • The virus is widespread in Oklahoma, Arkansas, New York, Texas, Connecticut and Kansas.
  • To be considered an epidemic, influenza and pneumonia must kill above 7.3 percent.

“We’re seeing pretty substantial increases in activity, but they’re not unexpected,” Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in the flu division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We see pockets of high activity in several states and pockets of low activity in others, but we expect every state will get hit.”

Antiviral treatment is an after-the-fact recommendation for patients with confirmed or suspected influenza, who are:

  • Hospitalized
  • Have experienced complications
  • Have a progressive illness
  • Are at higher risk for complications

The New York Times reports that scientists are reducing the uncertainty of flu outbreak prediction by using computer models. Last year, one team carried out flu forecasts in real time. Now, they are making predictions about the current outbreak. If you are curious about your geographic location, check out their predictions for yourself. Another helpful tool for finding outbreak locations is the site,

Hospitals and public health workers could someday use flu forecasting to prepare vaccine supplies and ready hospital beds. The advanced warning would be useful not only for the regular seasonal flu, but also for pandemics (new strain sweeping across the country and causing higher-than-normal rates of disease and death).

How Flu Vaccines Work

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. In addition, this season, there are flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine as well as an additional B virus.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The best way to prepare for the flu is to keep from catching it by having a vaccine. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Hack! Shiver! Sneeze! Cough!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

There are steps you can take to ward off the flu.

While winter often brings to mind holiday parties and gift exchanges, it’s also a miserable time for those unfortunate souls who get sick. The typical air inside an office building is circulated less than 12 times an hour, compared to 15 times per hour on a plane. Think about that the next time you worry about getting sick from “stale” cabin air. With flu vaccines resulting in employees taking 45% fewer sick days, more companies are taking notice and getting involved in prevention.

When most people think about winter diseases, the first thing that comes to mind is influenza. It’s estimated that 5 to 20 percent of U.S. adults come down with seasonal flu every year. According to the CDC, 119 million doses of flu vaccine had been distributed this year as of September 24. That amount is a substantial increase of 30 million doses, compared to the amounts which were sent the same time last year. Although analysts at the CDC are predicting a milder flu season this winter, they are still stressing that everyone gets vaccinated.

You may ask, “What about H1N1, the “swine flu?” It’s still out there, although research estimates that 59% of the U.S. population is now immune.

Respiratory Synctial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is another very common lung and respiratory tract infection. It’s so prevalent that researchers state almost all children age two and under have had the disease. While it is the biggest threat to smaller children, and especially premature infants, RSV can also cause problems for adults, sending individuals who have heart or lung disease to the hospital. As a building owner or manager, you can take steps to educate RSV-infected individuals about the benefits of staying at home, away from tenants and employees who are parents of small children.

What can property-owners and managers do to mitigate the effects of winter illness?

  • Set up a flu vaccine clinic at your building. Many private companies will provide qualified nurses, consent forms and the latest vaccine.
  • Distribute information about recognizing the symptoms of flu and other winter diseases.
  • Consider new HVAC systems that better circulate and clean the air.
  • Encourage tenants to adopt policies regarding sick employees, including work-from-home arrangements for vital staff.

A real focus on workplace health can pay immediate and long-term benefits. Healthier employees mean more productive and profitable tenants whose success might necessitate additional office or industrial space.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Swine Flu Swan Song

Friday, October 16th, 2009
Nasal spray

The swine flu nasal spray is not recommended for kids under age 2

As our series on the swine flu winds down, so does the nationwide panic over H1N1, as vaccines and nasal spray are finally readily available throughout the country. Health care providers in California have received more than 400,000 doses of H1N1 FluMist, a nasal spray, as well as thousands of doses of the injectable vaccine.

By the end of flu season, California plans to order over 22 million doses of each. To date, more than 2,700 hospitalizations and 206 deaths in California have been caused by the H1N1 flu since April,  according to Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Though both vaccines and the nasal spray are safe for most people, and have been thoroughly tested, it is important to know the facts about all of the treatment options before deciding which one to receive.

The following are advised NOT to take the nasal spray:

The inject-able vaccine has far fewer adverse symptoms and so is possibly a safer choice. Check to see whether it is available in your area. Those especially urged to get the vaccine include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children ages 6-24 months old
  • People who spend time around infants
  • Health care providers
  • Anyone with a chronic illness who is especially susceptible to disease

Something else to consider: One of the swine flu vaccine manufacturers,one of the swine flu vaccine manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur, suggests that children under age 10 are likely to need two shots to be fully protected. Federal officials said the news is not surprising, since this age group needs two doses of regular seasonal flu vaccine the very first time they ever are given a flu vaccine, for full immunity to develop.

The new Sanofi results back up what government tests are showing, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For younger children, the protection from one shot is “modest but not sufficient to allow for one dose to do the trick,” he said.

Though the focus should be on high-risk groups, experts recommend that anyone who wants the vaccine should get it, provided there is enough left-over supply for the general population. Since California is expected to receive over 22 millions doses (with 18 million of them being injectable) by the end of flu season, the likelihood of sufficient doses for everyone is very high.

Remember, obtaining either the nasal spray or vaccine to prevent swine flu is just another way for you to BE SAFE!

Swine Flu Can Stop with You

Thursday, October 8th, 2009


Part 3 in a 4-Part Series

A common misconception is that a standard seasonal flu shot will prevent you from contracting the hybrid strain of H1N1, commonly referred to as the swine flu. Unfortunately, a standard flu shot alone will not offer complete protection from the virus.

According to Jonathan E. Fielding, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “This new strain of influenza is pandemic and is the predominant strain circulating in our community.”

The good news is that, as of October 1, 2009, the flu shot and nasal spray treatments, developed specifically for H1N1 become available on a limited basis. According to information released at a Center for Disease Control press conference on October 2, approximately 600,000 doses are expected to be administered within the following few days in selected states across the country.

What’s more, 300,000 pediatric, liquid doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu have been released from a national medicine stockpile. Both of these medications have been developed specifically for the swine flu.

Schedule an appointment for the vaccine today to avoid—

  • Discomfort
  • Spreading the disease
  • A trip to the hospital

While this vaccine will prevent thousands of potential swine flu cases, some individuals across the country have already contracted H1N1. If you have been professionally diagnosed or just suspect you might have the infection, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. At highest risk are pregnant women, children and young adults, people with conditions like asthma and diabetes, and caregivers of infants.

Since the initial H1N1 outbreak in the spring of 2009, health care professionals have had plenty of time to treat swine flu cases up close and personal. Familiar with this particular strain and armed with the new vaccine and nasal spray, medical practitioners will soon be well-prepared to diagnose and help those who are infected.

Although some may be wary of taking a trip to the doctor’s offices because of the risk of contracting contagious diseases as well as encountering needles, most cases do not require intravenous or fluid-IV administration. Common treatment options for swine flu include drinking plenty of water, bed rest, and over-the-counter medication.

Though the swine flu can last for up to two weeks, patients are contagious for only about 8 to 10 days. During this time, they are encouraged to avoid public places, and, most importantly, to follow doctors’ instructions.

The threat of swine flu can stop with you. For more helpful tips about health and welfare, contact Allied Universal, Inc., where we encourage everyone to BE SAFE!

Swine Flu Facts Part 2

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Part 2 in a Series

CDC_PCR_diagnostic_testkit_smlResearchers at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are currently working overtime to finish developing a vaccine for the much anticipated outbreak of H1N1, also known as the swine flu. In clinical tests and limited trials, medicines such as Tamiflu or Relenza have been effective in keeping the current strain of the virus at bay.

H1N1 is said to be a combination of human influenza, the avian flu, and several other diseases, combined. However, there is some speculation as to whether or not these medications will work over the long haul. Some theorize that this strain of the virus will mutate and spread at a faster rate than other forms of the flu.

Once a substantial supply of the vaccine is manufactured and distributed, the public will be urged to go to local clinics or doctors’ offices to be vaccinated. Even though the odds that the swine flu will claim your life are slim (.01%), if you do not take proper precautions, you could unwittingly spread the virus to others. According to a report released by MSNBC, people can catch the virus and escape the symptoms, only to survive and pass the swine flu to someone else, who could have a fatal reaction.

Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken in order to avoid spreading or contracting this dangerous flu.

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Limit travel, if your transportation includes breathing recycled air (like on an airplane, train or a bus).
  • Contain your cough by coughing into a tissue, or (if necessary) your sleeved elbow, instead of your hand (which will invariably spread germs).
  • Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
  • Be careful to thoroughly rinse all of the produce that you buy, as you never know where it’s been and who has handled it.
  • Visit your doctor immediately if you start to develop symptoms of swine flu, like headaches or body aches.

Swine flu can be deadly, and it is imperative that you see your physician immediately if you experience suspicious symptoms. If your doctor confirms your diagnosis, he or she will prescribe Tamiflu or Relenza, which are both effective if taken within the first 36 hours of onset. The consequences of not going to your doctor could be devastating.

Swine flu takes only seven days to manifest. And, if it goes untreated, the virus can claim a life in little more than a week. This is why it’s important to be extremely cautious. Aside from antiviral drugs and vaccines, staying home and monitoring your symptoms are crucial.

Knowing what to do before you are in an emergency situation (such as developing swine flu symptoms), can mean the difference between life and death. Allied Universal, Inc. is committed to providing resources that help people be prepared, which saves lives.