There are antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , you can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Staying home from work or school if you are sick.
Links to more information:
- Centers for Disease Control’s page on Swine Flu contains information on the number of current cases, the facts on transmission, and how you can protect yourself. Check the site often as information may change.
- Medline Plus, a project of the National Institutes for Health, has a swine flu page as well. This is a highly recommended resource as it pools information from reputable and reliable health websites into one convenient place.
- PandemicFlu.gov, a one-stop site created by the federal government, is an excellent place to find out how New Mexico is prepared to deal with pandemic flu.
- The New Mexico Department of Health offers a page of swine flu resources with up-to-date information on statewide cases. You can also call the swine flu hotline at 1-866-850-5893
A Look Back in History
Many people are understandably thinking back to the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918. Vigilantes patrolled the streets of Albuquerque making people wear their masks as they saw neighboring communities, such as Tome, devastated by the outbreak. The lack of doctors and health education contributed to the pandemic as it raged throughout New Mexico and the world. These links will give you a better understanding of then and now.
- Office of the State Historian: 1918 – The Influenza Epidemic in New Mexico
- Timeline of the 1918 Pandemic at PBS.org
- And finally, the National Archives has an informative and absorbing page full of documents and pictures covering the 1918 Influenza.