How to care for someone with Swine Flu

By: Chiara Lotierzo Email
By: Chiara Lotierzo Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Since the Swine Flu outbreak hit hard in Mesa County, we've been hearing a lot about what to do if you yourself get sick, but what about caring for someone else while keeping yourself from getting sick?

We talked with one local family going through it, and what advice they’d give to others.

Debbie Yearout is caring for her daughter, Veronica, 26, who came down with the Swine Flu on Monday.

She got so sick she decided to see her doctor, who diagnosed her sore throat, fever, headache, and extreme body aches as symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus.

Debbie says it’s a busy job to care for Veronica, and keep her and the rest of the family from getting sick too.

Debbie sanitizes doorknobs, light switches, phones, TV remotes, door panels, the bathroom; anywhere Veronica goes, she acts as her “anti-bacterial shadow."

Most of the time, Veronica stays in her room with a humidifier running at all times, and when she comes out, she always wears a mask.

Debbie says besides lots of fluids and rest, doctors had only a few words of advice for Veronica’s care, but those included: using a humidifier because of our dry environment, using a Neti Pot to keep her sinuses clear, and gargling with salt water to help Veronica feel better with swallowing.

Debbie says when it doubt, “sanitize, sanitize, sanitize”, and don’t forget to wash dishes and cups with hot water.

She says the doctors told her, as a caretaker, to keep Veronica isolated as much as possible, and to ask her to wear a mask.

But even with the best sanitizing, Debbie is left to wait, because Mesa County Health officials say you can actually be contagious up to 24 hours before even showing symptoms.

Both Debbie and Veronica say if you feel REALLY bad from the flu, insist on getting in to see a doctor, so you can hopefully get on Tami-flu, and start getting better, before you get worse.

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