Influenza worries? Normal contact should be all right

My son's father came back from San Diego. He's been there for a week. Should he be concerned with the swine flu? I don't know if I should let our son be around him.

— Gini M.

The swine flu appears to be making the rounds — 17 cases in five counties in Oregon so far — so it's on a lot of parents' minds right now.

Just for you, Gini, we checked in with Dr. Cory Bergey, director of the emergency department at Providence Medford Medical Center. She said a person can spread influenza a day or so before symptoms appear.

But before you get alarmed, Gini, the doctor said that if your husband doesn't show any symptoms or hasn't been around people who have been sick, your child should be all right.

"It is probably fine to allow normal contact," she said.

Health officials continue to urge people to wash their hands frequently, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm (not in your hand), and stay home if you are ill.

Flu symptoms usually include rapid onset and some combination of muscular aches, sore throat, dry cough, fever, chills, headache and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting with this strain of flu, now known officially as the H1N1 influenza virus.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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