May 6, 2009

The Facts of Swine Flu

Swine flu is an influenza virus that usually only affects pigs but the virus mixed genes with another influenza virus to create a new type of virus that is also able to infect humans. The current swine flu virus is so different from other viruses that humans have been exposed to in the past that there is very little to none natural immunity to it. The body would have a hard time defending itself against the virus and there are no vaccines for the virus yet. The antiviral medicines Tamiflu and Relenza could help if the medicine is given within two days after symptoms begin. Health authorities are recommending the medicines mainly for people that have more severe symptoms. Most people who have caught the virus have recovered from it.

Common symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle pains, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, chills, headaches, weakness, and diarrhea. If you are having symptoms it is recommended to isolate yourself from everyone else and stay home to prevent spreading the disease. Get medical help immediately if the symptoms become severe.

The virus can be transmitted form person to person by sneezing, coughing, and physical contact, such as shaking hands, kissing, or any kind of touching. You can try to prevent contracting the disease and spreading it by washing your hands or using alcohol based cleansers frequently throughout the day, not shaking hands or having any physical contact with someone, and avoiding contact with people who have symptoms of the flu. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as much as possible. You cannot get the disease by eating pork.

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