Thursday, November 12, 2009

H1N1 At-Home Flu Risk Assessment Test Developed By Microsoft And Emory University

(NAPSI)-During a normal flu season, sniffling and sneezing are considered common. However, the 2009-2010 flu season has brought new complications with the rise of H1N1, a pandemic flu virus that has infected millions around the world.

As the pandemic has spread throughout the United States and around the world, many hospitals have begun restricting visiting hours for children, while businesses, schools and airlines have advised people who think they might be sick to stay home, all in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus to others. Doctors' offices have directed patients experiencing even mild symptoms or a minor cold to stay at home.

While health officials issue warnings over the continuing spread of the virus, members of the public remain unclear about how to determine if their symptoms are enough to warrant seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room.

Now, consumers have access to tools that can help. H1N1 Response Center (www.h1n1responsecenter.com), developed by Microsoft, includes a risk self-assessment service developed by medical and public health experts at Emory University based on national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The self-assessment allows people to evaluate symptoms and decide whether they should stay home, schedule an appointment with their doctor or go to the emergency room.

"This will reduce the number of people needlessly exposed to H1N1 flu in crowded clinics and ER waiting rooms, and allow doctors and nurses to focus their attention on those who need them most," said Dr. Arthur Kellermann, professor of emergency medicine and an associate dean of the Emory School of Medicine.

By answering a few short questions, patients can find out if they or their family members need to see a doctor or nurse for treatment. Through the site, patients can even prepare for their doctor's visit by connecting the questionnaire results with their HealthVault account (www.healthvault.com), a personal health application platform developed by Microsoft that lets people collect, store and share their medical information online with those they trust.

To take the online self-assessment quiz, visit www.h1n1responsecenter.com. To learn more about HealthVault or to create your own HealthVault account, visit www.healthvault.com.

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