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Know about Swine Flu

How do people become infected with influenza A (H1N1)?

Outbreaks in humans are now occurring from human-to-human transmission. When infected people cough or sneeze, infected droplets get on their hands, drop onto surfaces, or are dispersed into the air. Another person can breathe in contaminated air, or touch infected hands or surfaces, and be exposed.

What are the signs and symptoms of infection?

Early signs of influenza A (H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Is there any confirmation of transmission between pigs and humans at this point?

No.

How soon can someone with the flu infect someone else?

Infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air.

How long can viruses live outside the body?

We know that some viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

Currently available seasonal influenza vaccine does not protect against H1N1 flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

* 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 hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with people having respiratory illness.
* If one gets sick with influenza, one must stay at home, away from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. However, if one is having any respiratory distress, one should report to a nearby hospital.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?

First and most important: wash your hands frequently. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people having respiratory illness.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?

Yes. Oseltamivir is the recommended anti viral drug for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with the influenza A H1N1. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.

They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). The government has adequate stock and the drug is made available to government hospitals at the time of outbreak and would be available to you free of cost. The drug is to be administered under supervision of clinicians.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you live in areas where influenza A H1N1 cases have been identified and become ill with influenza like symptoms e.g. fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms.

Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids/eating food
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
* Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting

Can I get influenza A H1N1 from eating or preparing pork?

No. swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

DOs:

* Wash your hands
* Avoid crowded places
* Stay more than an arm’s length from persons afflicted with flu
* Get plenty of sleep
* Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food

1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or
sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Use disposable
masks in airports, crowded markets.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after
you cough or sneeze
3. Use alcohol?based hand cleaners (e.g: Germ Free)
4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people
5. Always maintain high levels of personal hygiene, especially
before and after food preparation and in & out of toilets.
6. While in an affected region, seek immediate medical attention
if you develop influenza?like symptoms. (High Fever, body
pain, coughing and red nose)
7. Get plenty of sleep
8. Rest and take plenty of liquids
9. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food.

DO NOTs:

* Shake hands or hug in greeting
* Spit in public
* Take medicines without consulting a physician

1. Touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way
2. Visits live animal markets, poultry and pig farms.
3. Shake hands or hug in greeting
4. Spit in public
5. Take medicines without consulting a physician
6. If you are sick, PLEASE stay at home and limit contact with
others as much as possible
7. Forget to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or
sneeze
8. Neglect yourself and seek medical advice if needed

For people who are sick:

* Stay home and limit contacts with others as much as possible
* Rest and take plenty of liquids
* Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
* Seek medical advice if needed

Symptoms, Precautions, Treatment

Swine Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of swine flu infections can include:

* fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent
* cough
* runny nose or stuffy nose
* sore throat
* body aches
* headache
* chills
* fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme
* diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu

Signs of a more serious swine flu infection might include pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Swine Flu High Risk Groups -

Swine flu high risk groups, people who are thought to be at risk for serious, life-threatening infections, are a little different and can include:

* pregnant women
* people with chronic medical problems, such as chronic lung disease, like asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immunosuppression
* children and adults with obesity

Precautions to keep swine flu at bay

The deadly Swine Flu has reached the Indian shores following the global outbreak and now, claimed one life. However, Swine Flu is certainly one of those diseased where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are five tips for you to keep away from the pandemic.

1. Wash your hands frequently

Use the antibacterial soaps to cleanse your hands. Wash them often, for at least 15 seconds and rinse with running water.

2. Get enough sleep

Try to get 8 hours of good sleep every night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.

3. Drink sufficient water

Drink 8 to10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.

4. Boost your immune system

Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection is important in flu prevention. So stick with whole grains, colorful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.

5. Keep informed

The government is taking necessary steps to prevent the pandemic and periodically release guidelines to keep the pandemic away. Please make sure to keep up to date on the information and act in a calm manner.

Treatment

If a person becomes sick with swine flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better quicker. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). The U.S. CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses; however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs.

Vaccination

WHO does not expect the swine flu vaccine to be widely available until the end of 2009, noting that current production “yield” was only about half as much as expected and would cause timeline delays. There is also concern that countries which produce vaccines, 70 percent of which are in Europe, may delay sending swine flu vaccines to other countries as they may come under “tremendous pressure to protect their own citizens first,” note some experts.

Many countries are planning full blown large scale vaccination camps by the end of the year.

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