The outbreak of Swine Flu in people caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin continues to grow in the United States and internationally. The organism of H1N1 consists of two parts pig, one part human and one part bird. Everyday additional confirmed human infections and hospitalizations are reported. The more recent illnesses and the one reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the U.S. At present the reported pandemic is in level 5 from scale of 1 to 6. Most people will not have immunity to this new virus and, as it continues to spread, more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths are expected in the coming days and weeks.
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
Center for Disease Control(CDC) has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people. The very good thing about this spread is happening in warm weather. This will keep the spread and strength of the disease down.
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 and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, 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.
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
These are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Practice good health habits and always build your immune system. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, never ever panic, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. You can supplement with 1000mg of vitamin C and two tablets of Echinacea herbal extract which comes in soft gel tablets. Eating lots of pumpkin seeds for Zinc and garlic for natural antibiotics also will help build your immune system. You can also leave cut garlics or cut onions in the rooms of your house. The onions and garlics will absorb all the impurities in the air very quickly.
- People with chronic illnesses including diabetics, cancer patients, and over 65 years old individules should avoid contacting this flu.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.