7 Steps To Protect Yourself From Swine Flu

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Well, first of all, what is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs, just as the name implies. However, people do not normally get swine flu. Occasionally human infections can and do happen.

In the past Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond about three people. The majority of people who have swine flu are usually not seriously ill, and symptoms of infected people outside Mexico appear to be much milder than those in Mexico for reasons not yet known.

Nobody outside Mexico has died, apart from a Mexican toddler who was brought over the border into the US. However, it is difficult to say just how dangerous swine flu is right now. Most people who have died were young, healthy adults, aged between 25 and 45. This is a similar trend to other pandemics, and marks a contrast to seasonal flu, which tends to hit the very young and the very old hardest.

Signs and Symptoms of Swine Flu or H1N1?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people.

Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions, so it’s best to avoid coming into contact with those who may have the virus. Infected people may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop. It is believed they can continue to infect others up to seven or more days after becoming sick.

Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. The swine flu virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human, but it is not yet known how easily it is spreading.

The WHO (World Health Organization) has raised the pandemic alert to phase five. Phase six is a global pandemic. Phase five means that human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries is occurring. The WHO raised the pandemic alert to phase five after a person in Spain who had not been in Mexico caught the virus from someone who had been there. According to the WHO, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent.

7 Steps To Protect Yourself From Swine Flu

  • Always remember to wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, especially after being out in public. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Cover you nose and mouth with disposable tissues when sneezing, coughing, wiping and blowing your nose, and dispose of tissues immediately.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean hard surfaces such as door handles frequently, and try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus.
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.
  • Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active and follow public health advice.
  • Purchase and use Waiora NCD Activated Liquid Zeolite. The benefits are:
  1. Supports a healthy immune system.
  2. Helps remove heavy metals, toxins and other substances from the body,  including viral components.
  3. Helps balance pH levels in the body.
  4. 100 percent natural and non-toxic.
  5. Safe for long-term use.

Will wearing a protective face mask help prevent getting Swine Flu or H1N1?

Experts say there is little evidence to suggest that face masks will actually prevent healthy people from becoming ill, especially when they are not in direct contact with sick people. Masks are only useful for people who are ill to prevent them from spreading infection, and for people who are directly caring for ill people. They need to be changed regularly to be effective. Some suggest that because masks can get damp from breathing, they are more likely to harbor viruses and increase the risk of self-contamination if not changed frequently. Others say masks can give people a false sense of security. Only surgical masks that conform to a European standard called FFP3 can protect against viruses, and people often need to be trained to put these on properly.

What medicines help to treat swine flu or H1N1?

There are two anti-viral drugs, either of which is recommended for use in people with swine flu – oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). These medicines work best if started within two days of symptoms showing. Ireland has ample supplies of these medicines. Tamiflu is available by prescription and is suitable for adults and children aged one and over. It may also be used for flu prevention. Tamiflu is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. People with asthma can take Tamiflu. Be advised that the drugs may cause undesirable side effects. Discuss this with your medical professional thoroughly.

How can I protect myself from getting sick if I have to travel?

Stay home as much as possible until this issue passes, but if traveling to an affected country, there are certain sensible precautions you can take.

  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing or shivering
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Pay close attention to the health messages being broadcast in the country in which you are traveling.
  • The Department of Health has advised people not to travel to Mexico.
  • When returning from affected areas, you should look after your personal health and if, within seven days after return, you experience an illness like that described above, you should stay at home and immediately contact your  GP by telephone.
  • Patients are asked not to go to GP surgeries for fear that they may infect others.

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