Just when you thought the flu season was coming to an end Swine Flu swept in and has been infecting people all over the world. To date there have been over 90 lab confirmed cases and one death in the United States alone.
Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A (H1N1) influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get Swine Flu. However, the recent outbreak is a never-before seen combination of human, swine, and avian influenza viruses.
No one is exempt from catching the flu but there are steps you can take to avoid it. They’re common, you’ve heard them before, but just in case let’s review.
1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Some people wear masks (also referred to as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation, and laser masks) or particulate respirators.
2. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. It’s such a simple gesture of common courtesy yet so often forgotten.
4. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. What’s that old saying…while washing your hands sing the “ABCs” or “Happy Birthday” to make sure you’re washing your hands long enough to get rid of the gunk. If you’re on the go, keep some hand sanitizer or handy wipes in your car or bag.
5. Avoid touching your 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.
6. Practice other good health habits – get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
In addition to these six tips keeping a sanitary home and workspace also helps. Thoroughly disinfecting commonly used household and workspace fixtures and electronics (doorknobs, railings, keyboards, telephones, cell phones, remote controls, etc.) with a hand wipe will also help kill germs and bacteria.
Watch CDC podcast giving instructions on how to put on and take off disposable respirators.