Saturday, May 02, 2009

Get the Facts on Swine Flu

Swine flu is a type of virus. It's named for a virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

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:

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.

Many thanks to the Los Lunas Public Library, Thomas Branigan Library, and New Mexico State Library for compiling this information.

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