- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Tips and Advice for Surviving the Swine Flu
The H1N1 Swine Flu - important information for your family
(Authors note added 5-13-2012: The swine flu pandemic has come and gone. This article however can also be used for educational and historical purposes)
(UPDATE 11/05/09: Please note that this was written by me in April of this year. With the H1N1 Swine flu now a pandemic, this information is even more vital than ever. Hopefully you can take some of these simple precautionary measures to keep your family safe this winter as we battle this flu together)
APRIL 28, 2009: I've been sitting on this story for a few days, hoping that my worst fears were not being realized. After following the H1N1 swine flu story for the last several days - intensely I might say - I've had to push down a little panicky feeling that something very big was happening here.
With growing alarm, I have been watching H1N1 swine flu cases popping up daily on the H1N1 Swine Flu interactive map here. I hate to push any type of panic button folks but it's time to really sit up and take heed to what's going on. Today, April 27th, 2009, the WHO (World Health Organization) raised it's rating system to a level 4 (from the WHO website) :
"Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion."
The rating level has never been changed to this level since it's inception. We are now part way through the beginnings of a Pandemic. How severe this will become is anybodies guess as this is a new strain of flu - but - similar to the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed over 20 to 100 million people worldwide. This is not a time to panic - but a time to take a really close hard look at the places where you go, who you spend time with, where you spend time - and - this is definitely the time to get into the habit of washing your hands FREQUENTLY.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 4-29-09 WHO ALERT LEVEL RAISED TO 5:
"Human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region."
"While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent."
Some Simple Tips for Avoiding Swine Flu Transmission
In this first hub of many to come on the H1N1 Swine Flu, I'd like to ask you to start by at least making a few small changes in your life to protect yourself and your family. These are simple things that you may already be doing but if you aren't, it's important to start making these habits a part of your daily living. These tips are from the CDC website (Center for Disease Control)
There are everyday actions people 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.
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected 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.
Some other things to consider with the Swine Flu
Although as of yet there are no hard and fast rules concerning travel, I would really stop and seriously think about traveling right now. Myself, I would definitely not go to Mexico at this time unless it was absolutely necessary. Mexico City is ground zero for the Swine Flu and THOUSANDS of people have been infected and over 100 people have died. This virus is VERY CONTAGIOUS and that is why cases are popping up all over the globe. New cases being reported daily. The H1N1 swine flu has all the characteristics of becoming a PANDEMIC - and could and will probably evolve. When it does it could get even more lethal as it comes back around in it's second or third wave. Although some cases in the United States have seemed relatively mild, that could change as the swine flu virus changes it's makeup.
"This is the closest we have been to a pandemic in a long time. I think it is a serious concern because there is clear evidence that it is spread from person to person, that there is a high fatality rate, and it is a nasty infection." (University of NSW Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Raina MacIntyre.)
This is also a good time to take a good look at your emergency and first aid supplies. In case of a flu pandemic do you have first aid for your family in your home? Do you have enough water and food to last you several weeks and possibly months? Do you have emergency plans for your family in case of a natural disaster or global flu epidemic? These are very important things to ask your self right now. This is not to scare you but to warn you of what COULD happen. In case of a severe H1N1swine flu epidemic hospitals will be overwhelmed. Many people will be sick and need care. Are you able to work from home in case you could not go to work? Do you have a garden that you could get fresh vegetables from in case resources and supplies were in short supply?
These may seem like overwhelming things to have to think about but the time to plan is now. The H1N1 Swine Flu has the potential for turning into a really nasty situation and it's imperative that families plan right away. Like one of my favorite sayings goes: "When the time for action comes, the time for preparation has passed". Please look for future hubs on helping your family survive the swine flu. I will gather as much information as I can to keep you informed on things you can do to help you and your family.
(Dorsi Diaz reports on Climate Change for the San Francisco Examiner and is a freelance Internet writer and publisher )
Your Thoughts on the Swine Flu
Are you worried about a Swine Flu Pandemic?
Latest News on H1N1 Swine flu virus
- CIDRAP >> Novel H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)
LATEST NEWS ON H1N1 Swine Flu virus from the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy Academic Health Center -- University of Minnesota