The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Government are hoping to provide enough information to keep Americans prepared in case the threat of Swine Flu reaches higher proportions.  The death toll in Mexico has risen to 149 at the latest count, on Monday, April 27.  Cases in Mexico have been more severe, and affected young adults, which has not been a normal occurrence in most influenza cases.  Usually, the elderly and children are more susceptible to complications from flu.

This is not a time for panic; however, there are precautions that persons can take.  First of all, we all need to try to stay as healthy and strong as possible through proper diet and exercise.
If we can avoid crowds for a while, we need to do so.  Infected people may infect others beginning day one, before symptoms develop and up to 7 days after becoming ill.  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.

Some viruses live for 2 hours or longer on surfaces: tables, doorknobs, desks, keyboards, telephones, and money.  If you don’t wash your hands thoroughly, you can pick up those germs by touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.  Face masks not only protect you from breathing particles in the air from someone who has the virus, but they also keep you from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.  Having a supply of face masks and disposable gloves at work, or at home, if you are caring for a sick person, is a good way to protect yourself.

Not just at this time, but also during seasonal outbreaks of flu or other infectious diseases: remember to:

  • Wash hands with warm soap and water
  • Keep hand sanitizer handy
  • Avoid crowds
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Teach your children to wash their hands often