Flu Swine Avoiding Tips

The swine flu, or H1N1 influenza virus, spreads primarily via respiratory droplets from an infected person. These respiratory droplets are commonly expelled into the air during a forceful cough or sneeze. In a full, uncovered sneeze, approximately two to five thousand droplets filled with viral particles are ejected. If someone else is in close proximity, then the droplets can be breathed in, infecting the respiratory mucosa. The cycle then starts anew. In this article, tips for avoiding the swine flu will be discussed.

Common Sense Tips for Avoiding the swine Flu

Adults who are sick with the swine flu can spread the virus for up to five days after the initial onset of symptoms. Researchers have found that children are able to spread the virus for at least ten days. The safest, most reliable tip is to stay away from anyone who may be infected with the swine flu. However, isolation is not always practical.

In addition to being spread via respiratory droplets, direct skin to skin contact or indirect transfer of the virus to the body can also occur. The skin offers a protective barrier against entry of the virus, but when a contaminated finger comes into contact with the eyes, nostrils, or mouth, an infection can ensue. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least fifteen seconds should become a regular habit. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is another option to keep your hands clean, especially in public places.

Masks can offer protection from H1N1 infection by not allowing the respiratory droplets to enter the nose or mouth. Some people choose this option to avoid getting sick, but keep in mind that it is not fail proof. Those that wear masks sometimes wear it improperly or forget to wear it when they’re vulnerable to the disease.

Vaccinations and Antiviral Medications

The swine flu vaccine prepares your body to fight the virus by inducing “memory immune cells.” These cells will recognize and efficiently eliminate the H1N1 virus if it enters your body. The chance of getting extremely sick from H1N1 influenza infection becomes low. Vaccines are hailed as the most important measure you can take to prepare yourself for each flu season.

During the swine flu replication period (usually within 48 hours of infection), the viral load and its effects can be reduced with the use of antiviral medications. One such antiviral medication is Tamiflu®, or oseltamivir phosphate. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity and duration of swine flu illness. On average, the illness period is shortened by 1 or 2 days.

Some people claim that special drugs or herbal medications can cure you from the swine flu. Many of these substances have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. If you are ever in doubt about a drug’s claim, then talk to your doctor about it.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. (2009). H1N1 flu and you. Retrieved December 4, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm.

Los Angeles Times staff. (2009). Gloves, masks to be distributed to schools to prevent flu. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from the Los Angeles Times Metro Web site: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/12/gloves-masks-to-be-distributed-to-schools-to-prevent-flu.html.

Smith, M. (2008). What is Flumist and what does it do? Retrieved December 5, 2009, from the Web MD Web site: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/questions-answers-nasal-spray-flu-vaccine.