As you may already know, Swine Influenza is the talk of the town right now. Travelling plan and etc are affected by the outbreak. WHO has issued alerts across the Globe and many countries are putting up preventive measures in preparation for an outbreak.
I have extracted information of this Swine Influenza from Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB). I already direct a link to WHO Swine Influenza where you can get the latest update.
Information after the break.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert on the outbreak of human swine influenza that has claimed 81 lives in Mexico.
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza virus. Although the swine flu does not usually affect humans, there had been cases of human infections with swine flu and human-to-human transmission has been reported.
A number of confirmed human cases infected with the new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus have been identified. Many countries around the world are responding to contain the spread of infection and are monitoring the situation closely.
Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. The spread of swine flu is believed to be the same way as how seasonal flu spreads. Most common transmission of person to person infection is through coughing or sneezing of persons with influenza.
Swine flu infection is contagious. People with infection may be able to spread the flu virus a day before the symptoms appear and up to a week following the onset of illness.
Signs & symptoms
Just like the seasonal flu, swine flu infection in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of swine flu may include the following:
- High fever
- Muscle pains
- Sore throat
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
See your family doctor if you have any of the above symptons. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following warning signs:
- Breathing difficulty
- Persistent vomiting
- Sudden dizziness
Swine flu infection can be serious and life threatening. Deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure have been reported with severe swine flu infection.
There are antiviral medications available to treat and/or prevent swine flu infection. Anti-viral medications such as oseltamivir or zanamivir fight against the influenza viruses from reproducing in the body. These medications, when taken early in the course of infection (within 2 days of the appearance of symptoms) may:
- reduce the severity of the infection with faster recovery from the illness.
- prevent serious flu complications.
One of the ways to protect against swine flu infection is to prevent its spread. Since the illness occurs through direct contact with infectious material and respiratory secretions, it is important to practise good personal hygiene. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
1. Cover Your Nose and Mouth
- With a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose the tissue properly in the trash after use.
2. Wash Your Hands
- Regularly and thoroughly with soap and water.
- Before and after preparing food
- After going to the toilet
- Before and after eating
- After blowing your nose
- After using your hand when coughing or sneezing
3. Contain the Spread of Flu
- Use a serving spoon when sharing food from a common dish.
- Do not share personal items such as toothbrushes and towels.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- If you are sick, avoid crowded areas and wear mask.
- Stay at home and do not go to work or school if ill.
- See your family doctor if you have flu like symptoms and if you had recent travel to areas with cases of swine flu.
4. Build Up Your Immunity
- If you are a smoker, quit smoking. It harms you and your family.
- Take more fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are the most power-packed combination of nutrients your body needs for good health.
- Drink the equivalent of 8 glasses of fluid daily.
- Engage in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days a week.
- Learn to relax and rest.
5. Keep Your Environment Clean
- Do not throw leftover food on the floor or in the open.
- Do not leave food in common areas for stray animals.
- Do not spit on the floor and common areas.
- Throw used masks, tissue or litter into rubbish bins.
For more information, please visit these websites:
- for FAQs,
- WHO – Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR) – Swine Influenza.
- General information on swine flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.