Flu Prevention, Symptoms and Facts
How to Prevent the Flu, Flu Symptoms, Flu Facts
The Flu outbreak is bringing a bit of a panicky feeling among many people since this year's outbreaks are earlier than normal and more intense than normal and many people are just not quite prepared.
The information on this page covers both the standard flu and the Swine flu (which is still making its way around the globe) and will help keep you in touch with important resources and once you are more knowledgeable and prepared you'll have more of a chance of protecting your family and loved ones.
As with any flu strain you can protect yourself by following the tips listed below and keep updated with your local news and the resources on this page.
Please note that pregnant women, young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the flu and if you or someone you know is in this category they should take extra precautions & should contact their doctors office for additional advice.
On this page you'll learn about the flu symptoms, the different symptoms between the flu and a cold, how to keep up on the latest news and what precautions to take to help to prevent the flu.
The CDC states that the flu has started early this season and it is hitting hard.
Taking simple precautions like washing your hands often, protecting your hands from shopping cart handles and door knobs and handles can go a long way in helping to prevent a cold or flu
Actually the #1 way to prevent catching the flu is to wash your hands correctly and washing them often!
Looks like this will be a long flu season
Flu Symptoms, Facts and Prevention
Flu Symptoms & Facts
* The flu is a respiratory illness & children are more likely to suffer nausea & diarrhea than adults.
* The flu is highly contagious
* The flu is a virus - don't ask your doctor for antibiotics - there are specific medications like Tamiflu which may help to alleviate the symptoms and severity.
* The Swine Flu is a type A influenza ( H3N2 or H3N2v)
* Symptoms of the flu are include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Also sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
* The duration of the flu is about 7 days
* Coughing & sneezing on someone is usually the fastest way the flu can be spread.
* The flu germs can also be picked up on places where someone had sneezed such as a keyboard, telephone, doorknob - clean surfaces with alcohol or antibacterial wipes whenever possible
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have contracted the flu contact your doctor. There are medications that can help ease the symptoms of the virus.
* The best way to avoid the flu is to wash your hand thoroughly and often
* Avoid being in contact with someone who may have the flu or been exposed to the flu
* Avoid large crowds if there is a flu breakout in your city
* Shop on days and times when there will be less people there (Sundays & Tuesdays)
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth
* Get plenty of rest
* If possible try to avoid stress which can lower your immune system
* Eat as healthy as possible - fresh fruits & veggies
* Drink plenty of fresh water
* Take immune boosting supplements & vitamins
* Before traveling check the Healthmap (shown below) to see if there is a current outbreak so you can take precautions
* Listen to the news, CDC, WHO and other resources listed on this page
Basically take the same precautions that you would take during the normal cold & flu season.
You won't be any good to another family member if they get sick and you are too sick to take care of them.
The Flu is spreading... Are you ready for it?
Is It a Cold Or Do You Have The Flu?
The different symptoms between a cold and the flu as listed above are just standard guidelines and your symptoms may be a bit different.
Many people are stating that they are also having a sore throat with the swine flu, although the chart above does not list it as a common symptom.
Remember that your symptoms may be different than those shown above - I can't stress this enough --the chart above is just a generalization.
Always seek a heath care professional for yourself or your loved ones if your symptoms are severe, if the skin feels dehydrated, if your symptoms last longer than usual or if common sense just tells you to seek medical attention.
Flu Prevention Tip
The handle of a shopping cart is the perfect place to pick up germs.
With dozens of people a day using the same cart and children often sucking on the handle, be sure to clean off the handle before using with disposable wipes (most grocery stores have a container of these by their shopping carts - check yours).
Keep a small supply of antibacterial wipes with you just in case.
If you have small children take extra attention on cleaning off the handle and around the area where they may sit.
What many people don't realize is that the handles of the doors in the frozen food aisle and the self checkout register harbor both flu germs and e-coli so be sure to use antibacterial wipes after touching.
If you don't want to carry your own wipes grab a few as you are entering your store and use often while inside the store.
You don't want to bring germs home with you.
The Anti-Flu Diet
Research has shown that people who consume high quantities of quercetin are less likely to come down with the flu or catch a cold. Also if you catch the flu or a cold it will usually be much less severe.
Ok, so where can you find quercetin?
In the fruit & veggie section of your favorite grocery store.
Foods high in quercetin are:
Red onions - cooked or raw - red onion is the food with the highest quercetin concentration
How to Prepare Now
If a pandemic does break out you may need to stay home for an extended amount of time. You will want to keep on hand necessities for your family that will last approximately 2-3 weeks.
Even if a pandemic never happens, you will still want to keep certain items in your home just in case. You could possibly get snowed in, a bad storm may hit your area and you can't get out, your car could break down and there isn't mass transit in your town or even if someone in your family gets the regular flu or a really bad cold.
As my Mom use to say "It's always best to be prepared for the worst then be thankful when it doesn't happen."
Remember too, that if the caregiver in the family gets the flu they will not be able to shop so start stocking up on the items that your family uses on a daily basis so that you do not run out. If you purchase them slowly it will be more affordable.
These will be foods that you can store and not food that needs refrigeration.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started - then think about what your family likes and uses:
Feminine hygiene products
Peanut butter/ crackers/ chips - snack foods
2 week supply of food for each person
Canned foods - meats/ fish /veggies/ fruit
Soap - shampoo - laundry detergent
Over the counter medications such as pain relievers and fever reducers
Water for at least 3 days - this is always nice to have on hand for cases of emergency
Batteries - several sizes.
A few solar lights
You also have to think about your personal lifestyle and what you would not want to live without for a few days.
If you smoke, what would going without cigarettes for a few days do to you? While you probably aren't going to want a smoke if you are sick, if you are the caregiver or you are creating an emergency storage supply for what ever emergency arises you may want to think about adding them to your emergency supply.
It's a good idea to keep a box of disposable gloves in your home that the caregiver can use when taking care of a family member with the flu
World Health Organization (WHO) Disease Outbreak News
The World Health Organization is the top authority for health news and information on global health matters.
Also known as WHO, the World Health Organization follows health trends and the disease outbreak news page has the latest information about any major outbreaks of diseases.
Important WHO Resources:
You may also subscribe to their Disease News RSS Feed at WHO Disease News RSS Feed plus for your convenience the WHO Disease News RSS feed can also be found further down on this page or you may click here
Do Face Masks Prevent The Spread Of the Flu?
This all depends on the type of mask you use and if you remember to change masks often.
Health experts are saying that those who come in close contact with known flu patients should wear high filtration masks like those used by health professionals.
Be sure that the mask fits snugly (and no gaps around the nose or mouth)
The CDC recommends N95 masks
Remember that even if you wear a mask you should avoid long contact with a person who may have the flu. After each visit you should dispose of the mask by sealing it up in a plastic bag and then wash your hands thoroughly.
If you do purchase a face mask purchase one that is of a heavier gauge material (these will often cost $3-5 ) and look for one that holds it shape when placed on a table.
Also if possible use a face mask that has a metal piece around the nose so that you can fit it snugly around your nose keeping the virus out.
A quality face mask is not cheap. Expect to pay around $3-5 for one and a multi pack will have the cost coming in around $1.25 each.
Look for a mask that states "medical grade", "flu protection", "medical mask", "N95" or "N95 Respirator/Flu Mask", then see if it is shown on the product box to have a 3D shape (to fit snugly against your face).
So if plain flimsy face masks do not work that well why do they give them out at doctor's offices during cold & flu season?
These masks are just worn for just a short time (usually 30 minutes or less) & they do not have time to stretch & gap. For a very short time period these will give you more protection than no mask at all.
Swine Flu Poll
How Concerned Are You About The Swine Flu?
Flu Prevention Tip
When you cough be sure to cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into the crook of your elbow - not on to your hands.
If you were to cough in to your hand then touch a handle, keyboard, cell phone etc. the next person who touches the same area will pick up your germs. You may not show signs of the flu but you still may be carrying the flu virus.
Taking Action To Avoid the Flu?
Are you taking steps to avoid the flu?
Common Flu Symptoms
Also sometimes Diarrhea and Vomiting
You may have just 1 or more symptoms