As the government scrambles to provide vaccine for Swine Flu and contain the spread of the disease, perhaps the best tool available for you is the right information.
H1N1, or "Swine Flu" contains genetic material from swine, avian and human flu viruses. H1N1 viruses often circulate harmlessly, but since it's a new type of virus, humans don't normally have immunity to it. There are predictions worldwide about the spread of Swine Flu, but nobody is sure how far the disease will spread.
What are the symptoms?
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches
These symptoms are relatively common in most types of influenza. Your doctor can give you a Swine Flu test, though the results are not always definitive.
A fever is defined as having a body temperature of 100 degrees or greater.
Swine flu can also cause neurological problems in children, as do other types of flu. The disease is fatal in rare cases.
Who's at the highest risk?
Most U.S. cases have involved young adults and older children. A large number have involved those with morbid obesity.
Experts still caution that those at the highest risk from Swine Flu are young children, the elderly, those with immune disorders and other chronic illnesses.
How can I tell of co-workers, family members or others have Swine Flu?
It's virtually impossible to tell, as Swine Flu symptoms are similar to those of other types of flu. Still, experts advise you to stay six feet from those who appear sick. It's not necessary to wear a face mask, but it can help prevent you from spreading your flu virus to others.
How can I avoid infection
The CDC says hand washing is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of infection. Also, staying away from those who exhibit symptoms is also effective. A personal distance of six feet is recommended.
All household surfaces should be kept clean. Experts say the flu virus (H1N1 included) can stay alive on doorknobs, books, counters, sinks and desks for up to 8 hours.