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How Not to Get the Swine Flu

Updated on February 29, 2020

The Swine flu has a sordid history, coupled with it's own level of hysteria brought about by media, government and people worldwide. While this current strain has been proclaimed to be weaker than once believed, there are still precautions to be taken just as with any wide-spread, multinational disease.

What you'll learn here doesn't just count for the swine flu, the avian flu, or whatever-animal-here flu. There are basic steps you can take to prevent any sort of flu, or at least greatly reduce your chances of contracting sicknesses which are transmitted through various methods of contamination.

First, let's debunk some of the common questions regarding swine flu. The reason the H1N1 is called the "swine flu" is not due to transmission from pigs - but because pigs had these particular sniffles and coughs first! So while it's possible that if you happened to buy infected meat and didn't cook it to the proper temperature, and ate loads of it you may get the "swine flu," that doesn't mean the only way you can get it is from a pig.

The swine flu is transmitted just like any other flu you'd get, and here's where you'll find the information you need to keep yourself healthy. Pass it on - you may save someone from getting the flu.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/benchau/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/benchau/

Food Facts

Do you know why there are standards of cooking meat for meals, why there are recommended internal temperatures for meat to attain before you eat it?

You cook your meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit so that you don't get sick!

There are no excuses, meat thermometers cost anywhere from three to thirty dollars, depending on bells and whistles, and you should use them every time!  The reason you cook your meat to this temperature is that:

  • Bacteria and such present naturally in food cannot withstand 160 degrees.  This is vital information, as you will save yourself from a variety of ailments such as salmonella poisoning, bacterial infections, and yes - even the swine flu dies off at those temperatures!

The WHO (World Health Organization) - no groaning, there's a lot of good information being presented by them on a routine basis - has stated that pork cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit will not transmit swine flu to the consumer.

The other incredibly vital piece of information that you should all know is about preparing your food.  ALWAYS wash your hands before handling raw food products such as meat - and prevent cross-contamination by handling one type of meat at a time.  For example, if you are cooking with pork and chicken in the same meal, you would handle these meats in the following manner:

  1. Wash your hands prior to handling the meat.
  2. Take one meat, either one, and prepare it as you need it.
  3. Clean entire work surface, making sure the area is free of blood or residue from the first meat.
  4. Wash your hands again.  (Hush, don't argue.  Your mom taught you this, and you probably learned it in Home Ec too!)
  5. Now handle the second meat.  These meats should be stored in separate containers while you work.
  6. Wash your working area once more, and your hands, then go on with your cooking.
  7. Remember - if you touch your face or hair while cooking, wash your hands again.  You may be transferring bacteria from the meat to your person, compounding the issue further by sullying the meat as well.

Dealing with People

Everywhere you go, someone will be talking about this epidemic.  The flu changes from season to season, and the swine flu is no different.  Whether you are sick, or someone around you is sick, there are a variety of precautions you can take to prevent the spread of the swine flu or any other illness of this type.

  • Wash your hands frequently.  (Are you sensing a theme?)
  • If you have to sneeze or cough, do so with a tissue covering your mouth.
  • If you suspect you are seriously sick, contact your physician.  If you get the sniffles, you're not dying - call your doctor, don't riot his/her office with pitchforks and torches demanding the cure for all ailments.
  • Read, learn, become aware.  One way to dispel fear is to learn, and by learning about the swine flu or any other cold, flu, or virus, you take the power of reaction into your own hands.  Part two of this tip is to read from credible sources.  The CDC, and the WHO are two very credible sources to educate yourself from.
  • Be courteous to your coworkers, family and friends - if you are sick, take special care in regard to your hygiene, and get the proper medical care to put yourself on the road to recovery.  If that means taking a sick day off work, do so for yourself and to prevent transmission to those you are around daily.

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    • profile image

      queen chowdary 

      10 years ago

      it z very helpful of knowing about swine flu schoked to know about swine flu got to go

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      I seem to remember a particular Thanksgiving event where I heard "wash your hands, wash your hands" so much that I think that person wound up at least twice washing their hands nearly back to back.

      ;-)

    • profile image

      Kitchen_Witch 

      12 years ago

      Good page GamerGirl! Just as I told a recent cooking student.

      wash your hands

      touch your face wash your hands touch your nose wash your hands touch the counter wash your hands

      handle the food wash your hands.

      She thought I REALLY was O.C. lol. A recent cable tv show investigated the 5 second rule..... and was shocked.

      oop gotta go wash my hands .....

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Hey mayhmong - that's an adorable picture, but definitely not a case of swine flu there. Maybe animal love, but no epidemic starter. lol

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Is your doctor the one who told you to cut out the tomatoes and acidic fruits? I think perhaps you've been told wrong - but that too is a topic for another hub. :P

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 

      12 years ago from North Carolina

      You're right about the rising rate of obesity! You think this warning would stop it? Anyways, thought I share this with ya. Just don't try it at home.

      http://farm1.static.flickr.com/95/258394782_e8cd5c...

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 

      12 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I'd rather cut it out than eat it well-done. I can live without it -- I've realized that (finally!). I've already been told to cut out tomatoes and other acidic fruits (which appears to be everything!). I hadn't even though about fried foods. I'm married to a man from the south -- Good ol' North Carolina boy likes his fried food! LOL

      I've already cut out soda, which I can tell is helping the weight but not the stomach. Darned if *water* doesn't give me reflux!

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Great googly moogly. That parting question is a doozy, and the short answer is that there are many, many, many reasons why we as a worldwide population have an obesity problem.

      As to your issues with your stomach, I've found that by cutting out 90% of the fried foods in my diet I've not only lost a considerable amount of weight, but I've also stopped getting sick to my stomach, my acid reflux has become a distant memory, and my energy levels are higher.

      You may want to sit down with your physician (meaning the one who knows you best) and talk seriously about your diet to find ways to balance out your meat consumption to a safer level. Mind over matter works wonders - tell yourself that you're experimenting with well-done meat to test your body's ability to process it.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 

      12 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I don't get sick. I have figured out that mind over matter really does work. I had the flu for a day a couple of months back. No big deal and I didn't even stay in bed for 24 hours.

      I do know, however, that I have problems with my stomach. It is a struggle for me to admit or understand that it could be due to my meat consumption. I know that it isn't all good for us, but there are so many vegetables I can't eat and fruit is almost entirely off limits due to a history of ulcers and low stomach acide (leading to GERD). My understanding is that consumption of red meat exacerbates this situation.

      I have never had food poisoning, and have been lucky that way. I did avoid meat during the hoof and mouth and BSE crises, however. I wonder if our consumption of undercooked red meat has something to do with the obesity epidemic?

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Everyday Miracles -

      Freezing meat only stops the bacteria, parasites and such from multiplying. Extreme cold only stops the movement of particles, or for most of our freezers, slows this movement, multiplication and transfer of junk to a very very slow rate.

      My opinion is, and I'll stick to this from personal experience - your body adapts to tell you what you can handle. For those who have the digestive health to eat raw foods, there's still a risk of exposure to bacteria, it just means the body is better prepared to handle it.

      I've said it for a while now - there's a reason our bodies are weak to so much in the world - we don't live in caves, eating raw meat and not knowing that bathing is a necessary thing anymore. Over many thousands of years we've evolved, some for the bad, some for the good. Part of that evolution is the state of our immune system. ;-)

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 

      12 years ago from Indiana, USA

      About internal meat temperatures -- I'm a confirmed carnivore and prefer my beef to be *very* rare. Pork I like medium, chicken medium-well. Anyway... Enough rambling.

      If the meat was previously frozen (which isn't always the case, I know), does that not kill bacteria? I have never been particularly clear on this and have considered eating only fish and well-done chicken in order to avoid illness (though I've never gotten sick before from rare meat). I can't eat well done beef, I just don't have it in me!

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Hey agvulpes, you'd be right! The CDC has stated that the H1N1 flu exhibits traits which are right in line with a type of flu that pigs can get, but this doesn't mean that pigs caused the "swine flu."

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      12 years ago from Australia

      G'day gamergirl, what you are stating is good advice that should be followed AT ALL times not just when there is Swine Flu about.

      I heard on a News Report that there has not been one case of Swine Flu that has been caught from a pig. Would this be correct ?

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