Friday, August 10, 2012

Be Cautious About Swine Flu, But Don't Panic!


The recent outbreak of swine flu has people in Ohio and elsewhere talking...



Before you visit your local county fair, arm yourself with facts about the swine flu (H3N2):

             Most of the current cases resulted from direct contact with sick pigs, but there are some cases where the virus spread from person-to-person contact

             It's not a food-borne disease and does not come from eating or handling pork

             This new flu strain has a gene from the 2009 H1N1 flu strain that could allow the illness to spread from person-to-person, so a vaccine is being developed

             In most cases, the swine flu is caused by breathing in the virus from a sick pig who is coughing or sneezing or by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth



The CDC recommends being cautious around pigs at petting zoos, county fairs or farms by:

             Washing your hands frequently after exposure

             Avoiding eating in animal areas

             Avoiding exposure to pigs and barns if you're at high risk for flu complications (i.e., children under 5, adults age 65 or older, pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease or weakened immune systems)



If you experience H3N2 flu symptoms--fever, coughing, sneezing or body aches--schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider immediately. He or she will decide if you need flu testing or an anti-viral medication. If you have any symptoms, stay home from work or school. 



Remember, washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick or spreading germs to others. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.



For more information, please visit these links at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

             http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing

             http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/

             http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/h3n2v_us_cases.htm

Adapted from: Medical Mutual and It's Family Companies - "Be Cautious About Swine Flu, But Don't Panic!"