Concern is on the rise with so much talk of swine flu in the news, conversations with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers seem to be centered on the swine flu.
What is the swine flu?
The swine flu is a strain of virus that pigs contract. The swine flu of interest in the news is a unique strain called HIN1, which can be passed from pigs to humans. According to the CDC, the HIN1 swine flu strain and the human HIN1 flu strain are not the same.
The swine flu can be transmitted the same way any cold and/or flu is transmitted -- person to person contact, by touching something someone with a virus has already touched, or from droplets in the air which come from a sneeze or a cough of a person who has the swine flu.
The authorities say that a seasonal flu shot (which addresses different strains of flu) will not protect us from the swine flu. The seasonal flu shot was developed to combat strains that are not related to the swine flu strain, HIN1.
The authorities are also saying the swine flu could be a possible pandemic… Pandemic means global, world-wide. A pandemic flu is one that may spread across the globe. Any contagious disease can easily be transmitted around the world within a very short period of time because people don't stay in one place. You have vacationers and business travelers, any of them may have been exposed to the flu but don't even know it yet, and they take the virus with them when they travel. If they are contagious, they may transmit the virus on planes, trains, in airports or other travel-related places. And then they take it home with them.
What you can do to protect yourself from the Swine Flu, follow some common sense protections emphasized for any flu, including seasonal flu:
- Keep your hands washed as simple as this sounds, it is one of your best defense in washing away viruses effectively.
- Use a hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash with soap and water.
- Avoid being near others who might be sick to avoid breathing droplets they have sneezed or coughed, or touching something they have touched.
- Try to limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Keep your immune system healthy:
- Eat nutritious foods-consume a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts to boost the immune system.
- Exercise daily –walk or dance in your home.
- Manage your stress level through relaxation therapy.
- Get your rest and a good night sleep.
- Keep a distance of at least three feet between yourself and others whenever possible.
- If things continue to get worst it is recommended to wear a mask and gloves.
And finally no, you can’t get the swine flu from eating pork the reason is the influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled cooked pork and/or a pork product is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.