Although there have been no reported cases of swine flu in Clay County, the county health department is staying in contact with the Indiana Department of Health regarding the issue.
"We will keep the local media informed of the current health status and any changes," Clay County Health Officer Dr. Rahim Farid told The Brazil Times. "We understand that this is a serious concern, but there is no reason for alarm or panic."
Earlier this week, state officials confirmed one case of the H1N1 virus (swine flu). A student at the University of Notre Dame was diagnosed with the virus, but according to Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe, the student is fine and currently symptom-free.
Farid said in case there is an upgrade in local flu status, the health department will soon receive supplies from the Center on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the State Department of Health.
He said if necessary, those supplies would be distributed as directed by the State Department of Health.
"This supply is for backup use in case other local sources are exhausted," Farid added.
According to county health department officials, the flu season was declared over earlier this month. However, in just the past week, several citizens nationwide have come down with the virus, which was believed to have an epicenter in Mexico.
Farid said symptoms of the H1N1 virus include:
* Fever (usually high),
* Tiredness or fatigue,
* Sore Throat,
* Runny or stuffy nose,
* Body aches, and
* Possible diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults).
Farid said residents who are experiencing any of these symptoms should call their doctor or medical clinic.
He said all doctor's offices in the county have been given guidelines for the virus.
Clay County Emergency Management Agency Director Bryan Husband said he has been working hand-in-hand with the county health department to monitor the situation here.
"You want to make sure you take all the precautions you can," Husband said.
People in 10 other states in the nation have been diagnosed with the virus. In addition, officials confirmed Wednesday morning a 23-month-old toddler from Texas had died from the virus late Monday.
Clay County health officials recently suggested to residents the best ways to avoid getting the flu include:
* Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol based hand wash,
* Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes,
* Avoid close contact with others,
* Stay home if you are sick,
* Keep children home from school if they are sick,
* Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue to a waste basket after use,
* Practice other good health habits such as get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods, and
* Those with flu symptoms should call their doctor and ask for guidance.