Nova Scotia has become the latest province to introduce a simplified, colour-coded chart to help people recognize H1N1 symptoms and make decisions about when and where to get help.

The chart, which describes various groups of symptoms and the best options for care, was unveiled yesterday by officials with the Department of Health. Similar self-assessment tools have already been rolled out in other provinces.

“I recognize that it may be hard or confusing for people to determine what level of care they should seek in response to illness,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, vice-president of medicine with the Capital District Health Authority. “This is really just part of the effort to clarify the information that has been coming down nationally.”


The chart -- now available on the Department of Health’s website -- will also be printed in newspapers and distributed to clinics and doctors’ offices throughout the province, said Carr.

It includes four levels of symptoms - ranging from a green level categorized by things like a runny nose and no fever, all the way up to a red level including a high temperature lasting three or more days and severe chest pain. Each level has a corresponding “decision,” which Carr said will help people determine if they should simply stay home and self-medicate, or seek medical assistance.

According to Carr, the two assessment clinics in Halifax and Dartmouth each saw about 500 people a day last week. On average, he said, five to 10 people a day were referred to secondary treatment facilities.

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