Advice if you are placed in home quarantine.

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1 Advice if you are placed in home quarantine. Why have I been asked to go into home quarantine? You have been asked to go into home quarantine because you have symptoms that make us suspect you may have Human Swine Influenza and you have been to areas where Human Swine Influenza Virus is known to be active. Home quarantine is very important for preventing the spread of Human Swine Influenza. What is Human Swine Influenza (swine flu)? A new strain of influenza virus has recently emerged that has characteristics of both swine (pig) and human influenza. Infection with this new strain Human Swine Influenza Virus causes the disease known as Human Swine Influenza and is the reason for these public health measures. The symptoms of Human Swine Influenza are similar to those of local seasonal influenza and include cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat and fever. How is Human Swine influenza spread? Human Swine Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by infected people. It may also be spread by person-to-person contact and via surfaces contaminated by droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. These then get picked up on hands and transferred to the mouth and eyes, where the virus can enter the body. What is home quarantine? Home quarantine means separating people with symptoms of Human Swine Influenza from other people in the general community and at home. You must remain on your property except in the case of a serious emergency until the home quarantine requirement has been lifted. You may go outdoors (on your property) but you must stay at least one metre from other people and at least one metre from any pigs or birds. A designated health-care worker will tell you when your home quarantine is over and you can leave your home. Under the NT Notifiable Disease Act, health officers are able to instruct members of the general public to stay at home and not leave their home or garden in order to prevent the spread of Human Swine Influenza. Thank you for your assistance in maintaining home quarantine. ABN:

2 How long will I be in home quarantine? A number of tests will be done on the swabs that have been taken. The first test will be done in Darwin to look for the presence of influenza virus (all types of influenza virus will be detected, not just Human Swine Influenza Virus). If this is negative, you will be given the all clear and the home quarantine will be lifted. The results of this test take approximately 24 hours. If this first test is positive, the specimen will be sent to Melbourne for a further test to look for the Human Swine Influenza Virus. This may take up to 3 days and you must remain in home quarantine during this time. If this is negative, you will be given the all clear and the home quarantine will be lifted. If tests confirm Human Swine Influenza, you will be in home quarantine until you are well or seven days after onset of your symptoms, whichever is longer. What should I do to protect other people in my household? You must wear a surgical mask if you are in the same room as another person. Wearing a surgical mask will limit the spread of droplets produced through talking, coughing or sneezing and will protect others. You should also stay at least 1 metre apart from other people. If possible sleep and stay in a separate room to other people (with the door closed). Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing o If there are no tissues available, cover your nose and mouth with your upper arm rather than your hands. Wash your upper arm (or sleeve) as soon as practical if you have sneezed or coughed into it. o Dispose of used tissues into the nearest bin o Wash your hands immediately afterwards or after touching used tissues. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based gels and hand cleansers are also effective. Keep your personal items separate and do not share them with others in the household. If other people in your household are also in home quarantine, you must still take these precautions. What should other people in my household do to protect themselves? Cover their nose and mouth when they are coughing or sneezing. Use disposable tissues to contain respiratory secretions and dispose of them in the waste bin. Wash hands with soap and water after covering a cough or sneeze. NT home quarantine instructions Page 2 of 6

3 Wash hands regularly with soap and running water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based gels and hand cleansers are also effective. Avoid close contact with you. Ask them to wear a surgical mask if they want to get close to you (within one metre). They should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. As long as your household members are not also in home quarantine they can continue with normal activities outside the home including going to work and school. How will I get food and supplies while in home quarantine? You will need a friend or relative to purchase food and other essential supplies on your behalf. They should leave groceries or supplies on your doorstep and keep at least 1 metre away from anyone in home quarantine. If this is not possible, contact the Centre for Disease Control (see below). Where can I get surgical masks? Your General Practitioner or health-care workers from the Centre for Disease Control should have issued you with a supply of surgical masks when they told you about your home quarantine. If you run out, or if you did not receive any surgical masks, contact the Centre for Disease Control (see below). What about work or school? While in home quarantine you cannot attend work or school. You will need to let health-care workers from the Centre for Disease Control know if you need a medical certificate for the period you are in quarantine and home quarantine. Should I have visitors? No, unless they are health-care workers coming to treat or check on your progress. Non-household members should not enter your household. You might warn expected guests by telephone that they should not visit you while you are required to be in home quarantine or quarantine at home. What else should be done? Hand washing Ensure soap and disposable towels (if possible) are near sinks for hand washing. If disposable towels are not available, keep a towel separate from other towels for your own use (and make sure others in your household know not to use it). You may wish to purchase and place alcohol-based hand gels and hand cleansers in key locations throughout the home. Tissues Have a supply of disposable tissues available. Cups and other eating utensils You should not share cups or utensils with other people. NT home quarantine instructions Page 3 of 6

4 Your used dishes and eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap. Household gloves should be worn by other people when they are touching your used cups and other eating utensils. After utensils have been washed, they may be used by others. Laundry Towels, bedding and clothing Your towels, bedding and clothing should not be shared. These may be washed in a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent. Care should be taken when handling soiled laundry to avoid direct contact of skin or clothing with contaminated material. Household gloves should be worn by other members of your household when they are touching your towels, bedding and clothing. Soiled laundry should not be shaken to avoid spreading germs. After laundry has been washed and cleaned it may be used by others. Cleaning the house Commonly touched surfaces such as taps, doorknobs, tables, kettle handles and fridge door handles should be cleaned frequently with normal household detergents. The home should be kept well ventilated with doors open and or windows during the day if possible and safe to do so. If you have young children in the household It will be challenging to teach very young children cough etiquette and hand hygiene. They may not tolerate wearing a mask and it might not be feasible or reasonable to expect them to wear one. Other measures such as keeping them away from you and teaching them general hygiene may have to be used. You will also need to clean their toys. Parents should explain to children that it is important to keep away the germs. Teach children to Wash their hands Cover their coughs and sneezes Why are these precautions necessary? When a person with Human Swine Influenza breathes, coughs or sneezes they can spread the flu virus. Droplets from the respiratory tract carrying the virus can spread up to a metre and land on surfaces, floors, tables and benches. If you sneeze or cough onto your hands and then touch household items, these items can also become contaminated. It is uncertain how long the virus can survive, but is thought that the virus can probably only survive on hands for 30 minutes. The virus can survive on hard surfaces for longer up to 48 hours. A person can catch the flu if they touch a contaminated surface or household item, and then touch their eyes, mouth or nose without first cleaning their hands. NT home quarantine instructions Page 4 of 6

5 Where can I get help or further information Health-workers from the Centre for Disease Control will contact you daily. If you have questions about being in home quarantine call the NT Human Swine Influenza information hotline (08) If you feel you are getting worse, please call your General Practitioner in the first instance. If you do not have a General Practitioner then call the Centre for Disease control on (08) If there is an urgent issue after hours then contact the Royal Darwin Hospital (08) and ask for the CDC Medical Officer on-call. In an Emergency call 000. When to seek emergency care: You and other members of your household should know to get medical care right away (dial 000) if you: have difficulty breathing or chest pain have purple or blue discolouration of the lips are vomiting and unable to keep liquids down have signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing or not passing any urine (or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry) have fits or seizures seem confused or less responsive than normal. If you need to call an ambulance, see a doctor or go to hospital please let them know as early as possible (ie. while calling the ambulance or making the appointment) that you are currently in home quarantine for Human Swine Influenza. This will allow appropriate infection control arrangements to be made. Hand Hygiene All members of your household should wash their hands Before eating or handling food After blowing their nose After going to the toilet After touching their pets After handling general waste and garbage Wash hands with soap and running water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based gels and hand cleansers are also effective. Steps in washing hands are Wash with soap and running water Wash front and back of hands as well as between fingers, including thumbs and nails Rinse well with running water NT home quarantine instructions Page 5 of 6

6 Dry well all over. See the poster for hand hygiene for how to wash hands. Cough etiquette Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing If there are no tissues available, cover your nose and mouth with your upper arm rather than your hands. Wash your upper arm (or sleeve) as soon as practical if you have sneezed or coughed into it. Dispose of used tissues in the nearest bin. Wash your hands afterwards or after touching used tissues. Wash clothing if used to cover your nose and mouth. See the poster for cough etiquette. Putting on a surgical mask Ensure hands are clean by washing with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel or rub. Gently pull the mask open by pulling on the top and bottom of the mask from the middle. Gently place the mask over your face and then gently pinch the nose support to fit your nose and face well. Grasp the top ties in your hands and pull behind your head. Gently but firmly tie together the top ties behind your head making sure the mask is tight enough to hold the mask in place. Tie in a bow. Pull the bottom ties behind the base of your head, tie them together in a bow. Make sure the mask feels secure. Gently pinch the nose area again to ensure it fits your face well. It must fit securely and snugly especially if the mask. Adjust as needed to ensure you can breathe smoothly and normally. If your mask becomes moist or wet remove and replace the mask. See the poster for how to fit and remove a surgical mask. These instructions are adapted for the Northern Territory from similar advice issued by the NSW Department of Health NT home quarantine instructions Page 6 of 6

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