The Whole Hog: Raby Institute Swine Flu Prevention Information

(May 2009)


Recent news reports regarding "Swine Flu" have caused concern nationwide. This flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type A influenza virus that do not normally infect humans; however human infections with swine flu do occur. The reported illnesses in the United States have been mild. As of May 13, 2009, there had been 3,352 confirmed cases in 45 states, with three deaths reported.

 

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Swine Flu:

 

How is the Swine Flu Transmitted?
Like other flu viruses, Swine Flu is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

 

How long is someone Contagious?
Adults may be contagious to others one day prior to onset of symptoms and up to seven days after getting sick.

 

What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?
The symptoms of Swine Flu are similar to other types of flu. These most commonly include a fever greater than 100 degrees F, cough, and sore throat. Other symptoms such as headache, fatigue, congestion, and muscle aches may occur. Some people have reported vomiting and diarrhea.

 

How is Swine Flu Diagnosed?
Your doctor can obtain a nasal swab that can be sent for analysis if you fit the above symptom criteria. Test results are available within 24 hours.

 

How is Swine Flu Treated?
For patients with suspected or confirmed swine flu, the Center for Disease Control recommends treatments with Tamiflu or Relenza, to ideally be started within 48 hours of symptoms.

 

What can I do to Prevent Swine Flu infection?

 

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you 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, as you can spread germs this way.Stay home if you get sick.
  • Consider using Zicam nasal swabs if traveling. Zicam contains Zincum Gluconicum, and is a zinc-based nasal gel that has been shown to reduce the duration of viral infections by up to three days.
  • If you are feeling ill, or are exposed to someone who is sick, consider using a face mask, as this may decrease exposure to respiratory droplets.
  • Increase vitamin C and other nutrients that support proper immune system function to prevent infection, or minimize severity of illness should you become sick. Other dietary supplements to consider include elderberry, echinacea, goldenseal or Oregon grape root, and homeopathic remedies such as homeopathic Oscillococcinum.
  • Reduce foods in your diet that are high in sugar, as it suppresses the activity of the immune system.
  • Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and protein-these help an immune system function to its fullest potential.

 

For additional information and regular updates regarding swine flu, please see the Centers for Disease Control website at: www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

 

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