Since the news about swine flu is overwhelming these days and many are not aware of the facts pertaining to this viral disease, I would like to inform you of swine flu and fill you in on health recommendations you can follow to minimize the risks of catching this disease, both personally and publicly.
The swine influenza A ( H1N1)virus is a novel influenza A virus that has not previously been identified. This virus is resistant to some antiviral medications and is sensitive to Tami flu. In many cases of swine influenza symptoms are similar to any influenza illness: fever, cough, sore throat, and rhinitis. Other symptoms reported with swine influenza A virus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, myalgia (muscles pain), headache, chills, and fatigue.
Persons with swine influenza A virus infection should be considered contagious for up to 7 days following illness onset. Persons who continue to be ill longer than 7 days should be considered potentially contagious until symptoms have resolved. However, children might be contagious for longer periods.
It is noteworthy that most swine flu cases present so far have been mild, with symptoms similar to those of seasonal flu. Only a small number of people have had more serious symptoms.
The typical symptoms of swine flu are:
Ø a sudden fever (a high body temperature of 38 C or above)
Ø a sudden cough.
Other symptoms may include:
Ø aching muscles
Ø limb or joint pain
Ø diarrhea or stomach upset
Ø sore throat
Ø runny nose
Ø sneezing or
Ø loss of appetite.
Since swine flu is a mild illness for most people, some people get better by staying in bed, drinking plenty of water and taking flu medication.
However, some groups of people are more at risk of serious illness if they catch swine flu, and will need to start taking antiviral medication. You are particularly at risk if you have:
Ø chronic lung disease
Ø chronic heart disease
Ø chronic kidney disease
Ø chronic liver disease
Ø chronic neurological disease
Ø Diabetes mellitus
In addition, other groups are at risk such as: pregnant women, people aged 65 and older, and young children under 5. It is vital that people of higher risk groups who catch swine flu start taking antiviral medication as soon as possible.
Public Health Recommendations
For healthy individuals no protective equipment or antiviral chemoprophylaxis is needed. However, they are advised to:
Ø Keep a distance of at least 2m from the ill person
Ø Avoid unnecessary kissing and/or hugging of others
Ø Maintain personal hygiene and continuous washing of hands
Ø Use personal protective equipment (medical mask)
For normally ill, suspected, or confirmed swine influenza A virus cases, the following is recommended:
Ø Non hospitalized ill persons who are confirmed or suspected cases of swine influenza infection are recommended to stay at home for at least 7 days after illness onset.
Ø The ill person should be separated from others in single room if available.
Ø If the ill persons need to move to another part of the house, they should wear a mask.
Ø The ill person should be encouraged to wash hand frequently.
Ø Cups and other utensils used by ill person should be thoroughly washed with soap and water before use by other persons.
Furthermore, if your children feel ill for any reason, please refrain from sending them to school. Rather, visit a doctor and have them treated. In addition, keep them at home until they show no symptoms of their sickness, and provide a medical report upon their return.