The swine flu was a major cause of economic hardship for Mexico when it first broke out last spring. Officials say they are not going to handle things in quite the same way if an outbreak occurs again this fall. Restaurants, schools, public sports events, and any number of activities were closed in order to stop the spread of the virus. Instead, they are emphasizing the importance of hand washing and other protective measures individuals can take. The streets and sidewalks are being kept much cleaner.
Many countries are taking the same precautions and issuing the same warnings. Schools are teaching hygiene and telling their students to not spread germs if they begin to feel sick. Everyone, everywhere needs to get on board; maybe together we can overcome the obstacles presented by the virus. Here are some things you probably already know, but if not, we’ll tell you again:
- So far, the virus has not been much more threatening than the regular flu. More people are susceptible to it, though, and it did persist through the summer, which is unusual.
- It has been rather baffling to health professionals in that it seems to affect different groups. Most flu affects older persons; however, this one has hit teens and otherwise healthy young adults. Other groups that are vulnerable are those with underlying health problems like diabetes, asthma and heart disease, as well as pregnant women, children under age 2, and health care workers.
- Alcohol-based sanitizers are excellent hand hygiene tools; however, using soap and water often is the best practice. It’s recommended that you take the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”, or the “Alphabet Song” to do a thorough hand washing.
- Vaccinations are important. Pregnant women, children age 6 months and up through young adults age 24, and health care workers should be the first to receive the vaccinations. When the vaccine is available, everyone should take the shots.
- Taking the shots as early as possible will help, as the vaccine will probably require two shots, three weeks apart, and effectiveness will take place approximately two weeks following.
- Vaccines are being tested and companies are working diligently to produce enough vaccine for mass production. There are several facilities throughout the US and worldwide that are testing their vaccines.
- Use your head. Be cautious if the swine flu breaks out in your area. Avoid going to the mall, churches, sports events, and any other place you usually go where there are large groups of people.
- If you become ill with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, chest pain, call your doctor. He/she may prescribe Tamiflu or Relenza, which will help reduce the severity. A trip to the Emergency Room may be needed if children experience rapid breathing along with fever, or adults don’t improve after receiving the common flu drugs.
- You cannot catch swine flu from eating pork. Handling uncooked or cooked meat does not spread the virus.