Hawaii urged to take flu precautions

State Civil Defense Director Major Gen. Robert Lee.
State Civil Defense Director Major Gen. Robert Lee.
State Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino
State Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - State leaders have a message for all Hawaii residents: Don't panic but stay alert.

"There are no reported cases at this time," said Governor Linda Lingle.

Hawaii's point people for infectious diseases deliver the news as the entire state lets out a sigh of relief.

"There is no need to declare a state of emergency for this condition," said State Civil Defense Director Major Gen. Robert Lee.

The swine virus once found solely in pigs, makes the jump to humans, but now it's a lot worse and harder to control. Governor Lingle says it's not the time to panic but to be prepared.

"It's a time to be alert, vigilant, to follow the department of health recommendations, but not to be alarmed," said Lingle.

"This is a time for everyone to lean forward if you will in preparation for whatever happens," said State Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino.

Officials ask the tough questions.

"What's the potential ahead, what are the unknowns," said Major Gen. Robert Lee.

But you can also help. If you think you have this form of the flu, stay home and alert your doctor of your symptoms so they can be prepared. There's treatments like Tamiflu, but even over the counter tylenol, ibuprofen, whatever you're accustomed to will work.

Officials say the key is identifying cases early and as quickly as possible, allowing public interventions to kick in. By taking the precautions now, Hawaii can prevent swine flu from becoming a pandemic.

So what can you do? Officials say treat this no different from what you normally do anyway. Wash your hands with soap, but even just water works if you wash long enough.

Singing the "Happy Birthday Song" completely through should help keep the germs away and prevent the flu.