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April 27, 2009
5 Steps to Protect Against Spread of Swine Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released some preliminary guidance on how to avoid swine flu. Thus far, the CDC has confirmed 20 cases of swine flu, 15 of which are in the states of New York (8) and California (7).

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs, but the CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human, although the CDC says it is unsure how easily it is spreading from human to human..

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.

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.

The CDC has identified steps that individuals 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.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

The CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses.

The CDC says this is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide new information as it becomes available.

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