Ask the OnCall+ Experts: Swine Flu

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IMPORTANT: The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

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Your Questions Answered

Question: How does the HIPAA act affect an employer's responsibility to warn workers who are pregnant or are in the underlying conditions category if they learn other co-workers may potentially have the swine flu?

Answer: Click here for the answer from an expert in health care law.

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Question: What effect with this Level 6 pandemic declaration have on my cruise to Mexico in July?

Answer: The World Health Organization (WHO) did not recommend any travel restrictions/alerts along with the Level 6 declaration of pandemic flu. As it stands now, there should be no effect on your travel plans to Mexico unless otherwise advised, for example, if cases increase drastically in the next two weeks (which may be less likely given the ending of flu season). You should continue to practice good hand hygiene for flu protection when you are there.

- Ed Hsu, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Health Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center
(Posted: June 16, 2009)

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Question: I lead a missions group of families to Baja Mexico. Have there been any reported cases in Baja? What if a member of our team gets the flu while in Mexico? Are we allowed to return to the U.S. if we are U.S. citizens with flu-like symptoms?

Answer: Baja Mexico does not have as many cases as other part of Mexico. (In mid-May there was only one case versus hundreds of cases in other parts of Mexico.) If a member of the team gets the flu while in Mexico, the member is allowed to return to the U.S. without any problems. There is no applicable law excluding any U.S. citizen from returning to the U.S. due to health reasons. Relevant laws such as quarantine and isolation were in discussion and may be implemented depending on the case increase.

- Ed Hsu, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Health Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center
(Posted: June 16, 2009)

Your Swine Flu Questions Answered

Question: How bad is swine flu in Cancun, Mexico?

Answer: It's mild in Cancun. The risk of contracting swine flu in Cancun is no greater than contracting it elsewhere in Mexico. You should continue to practice good hand hygiene for flu protection when you are there.

- Ed Hsu, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Health Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center
(Posted: June 16, 2009)

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Question: If I ever had to wear a face mask for swine flu, should I wear it only for one day then discard it, or should I follow the directions in the product container?

Answer: If you are wearing it while caring for H1N1 patients, you should change it on a daily basis. Otherwise, you should follow any directions in the product container.

- Ed Hsu, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Health Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center
(Posted: June 16, 2009)

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Question: Will an air purifier with a UV light help protect me from swine flu? Will a humidifier help?

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