Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) is currently spreading throughout the U.S. and the world. Mexico has been the hardest hit with many deaths reported. In the U.S. this disease appears to have taken a more mild form, and those infected, for the most part, have recovered.
What is Swine Flu?
In the past, there were rare cases of humans becoming affected by pigs who had swine flu, and those who were affected had direct contact with pigs. But the current swine flu outbreak is different. This is a new swine flu virus that is spreading from one individual to another…and these people have had no contact with pigs.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of swine flu are like those of regular flu symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. Some also have diarrhea and vomiting. These symptoms can be caused by any number of illnesses, and the only way swine flu can be diagnosed is by your doctor ordering lab tests. Flu shots will not work for Swine Flu this year. There are other medications available, but there is controversy about their effectiveness.
How does it Spread?
The new swine flu virus spreads just like the regular flu. It travels mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of the infected person, or by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
This virus can become airborne if the infected person coughs or sneezes without covering their nose or mouth, sending the germs into the air.
When is a Person Contagious?
Infected people are contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 more days after becoming ill. This means you can pass on the flu to another person before you know you’re sick as well as while you’re ill.
Will eating/preparing pork cause swine flu?
- No, swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. Eating properly prepared pork products is safe.
- Kids’ emergency warning signs – urgent medical attention required
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Adults’ emergency warning signs – urgent medical attention required
- Severe or persistent vomiting – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Wash hands regularly with mild soap and water especially after coughing or sneezing or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
- Try to stay in good general health
- Take enough of sleep
- Be active
- Remove stress
- Drink enough of liquids
- Eat healthy food
In light of the current concern about Swine Flu, the most important thing you can do to protect your health is to build a strong immune system.
- Stay home from work or school and rest
- Drink lots of liquids – herbal teas are good: chamomile, echinacea, lemon balm
- Wipe self down with a cool, damp washcloth for a high fever
- The soup would be a good food