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Swine Flu Do’s and Don’ts: Is a New Pandemic Coming? 


The United States has declared swine flu a public health emergency, with growing numbers of U.S. cases being reported.

swine flu

With growing numbers of cases of swine flu being reported in the United States, most experts believe the virus is now spreading from person to person, whereas it was once confined to people who had direct contact with pigs. This means “when”, NOT “if,” it will be in many areas of the U.S. -- which poses the question: What to do?

What is the Swine flu? It is a respiratory disease that commonly infects pigs, but is not typically seen in humans. In the time spanning December 2005 through February 2009, just 12 human infections were reported in the United States. However, since March 2009, infection with a new strain of swine flu A (H1N1) has been increasing in the U.S. and internationally.

While we recommend you do NOT panic, it is important to be aware of swine flu and the simple steps you can take to minimize any risks for you and your loved ones.

Why this could be serious: In 1918 there was a worldwide pandemic during which over 50 Million people lost their lives.

Monitoring the incremental impact in your community (if or when any occurs) will be very important. Watch your local news to be informed of possible odds of people in your area having been infected to then raise the level of your precautions.  

In Mexico, by the end of April 2009, over 100 people died and 1,400 were sickened by the disease, while 10 New Zealand students who had recently returned from Mexico were also  to be infected. Cases have also been discovered in Canada, Spain, Scotland, Israel, Britain and France.

In Mexico they are now distributing face masks to reduce the possibility of people acquiring an airborne strain of the virus.

However, most viruses are transferred by direct contact of touching a person’s hands or the surface they touched then touching your hands to your mouth, nose, eyes or ears.

So to start, reduce contact and use “hospital-grade micro-fibber hand-wipes.”

Also reduce kissing, hugging, handshakes, etc. for the next few days or weeks until you are confident there is no record of the swine flu in your area.       

Of the first 20 cases reported in New York, Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California, at least two patients were hospitalized but all have recovered or are recovering. In the United States, so far the cases appear to be milder than those in Mexico, though health officials aren’t sure this will last.

"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Associated Press. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."

Experts are currently debating whether swine flu has the potential to become a pandemic. In Mexico City, the country’s government has closed public and private schools and universities, museums, libraries and theaters in order to curb the outbreak, while the CDC has said the virus “cannot be contained.”

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, has urged governments around the world to be on alert as the full risks of the new swine flu strain develop.

New viruses like H1N1 can develop into pandemics because no one has been exposed before, and therefore no one has immunity. However, the severity of the virus, along with how easily it’s spread, remains to be seen. What’s known already is now the virus is spreading from person-to-person, even among those who had no contact with animals and had never been to Mexico.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Swine Flu?

Swine flu is contagious and capable of spreading from person to person. The incubation period seems to be approximately 12 hours to 24 hours before symptoms appear. Like any flu, the symptoms can range from mild to severe, and include:

  • Fever (100.5 degrees F or higher)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches (muscle aches)
  • Diarrhea & Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

When diarrhea and vomiting are present see your doctor immediately as severe cases have progressed to pneumonia, respiratory failure and deaths.

How is it Diagnosed?

A respiratory specimen must be collected within the first four to five days of illness, when the infected person is most likely to be shedding the virus. However, some patients (such as children), may shed the virus for 10 days or longer, according to the CDC. Specimens must be sent to the CDC for laboratory testing in order to identify swine flu.

swine flu

R.E. Bates / Centers for Disease Control via
Swine flu virus

How Can You Catch Swine Flu?

Typically swine flu is spread through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses. However, human-to-human spread has also been documented, which means you can catch it through others’ coughing or sneezing but most likely by directly touching an infected person or by indirectly touching something they touched recently that left the flu viruses on it and then touching or rubbing your eyes,  mouth or nose (or possibly even your ears).

You cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products, as the virus isn’t transmitted in food.

People with swine flu remain potentially contagious while symptoms are present and for up to seven days following the illness, although children can be contagious for even longer.

Steps to Minimize Your Risk of Catching Swine Flu

Currently the CDC recommends the use of two antiviral drugs, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza), for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine flu viruses, though many point out that the drugs may not be effective for long given the rapid potential for flu viruses to develop resistance.

If you have signs of the flu ranging from fever to body aches and fatigue, see a health care professional to see if you should be tested for swine flu.

The United States is expected to release 25 percent of the 50 million anti-flu drugs from the strategic national stockpile, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. She also said the U.S. declaration of a public health emergency would free up federal, state, and local agencies’ resources and authorize the release of funds to purchase more antiviral drugs.

The United States has also created a “seed strain” from the virus, which is a virus that can be used to make vaccines. So far tests show the H1N1 component of the seasonal flu vaccines does not protect against the new H1N1 swine flu virus, and experts say a vaccine will take several months to be developed.

That said, some of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of swine flu and any other respiratory illness have nothing to do with pharmaceuticals and everything to do with simple everyday precautions, including:

You can minimize your risk of catching swine flu and other contagious illnesses by using Hospital-Grade PerfectClean Hand Wipes. They're small enough to carry in your pocket or purse, yet effective enough to absorb or even kill most contaminants that can't be seen with the naked eye -- especially once washed in bleach as the fibers encapsulate the bleach that can kill bacteria as they too are encapsulated within the micro-fibers. We recommend wiping your hands every time you touch public areas or shake hands and definately before touching your face, nose, eyes, or mouth, or eating. 

You can use them wet or dry to effectively remove germs from your hands, such as after a handshake or before eating. And because they're made of highly durable ultramicrofiber cloth, you can use them for 100+ washes before you need to replace them -- making PerfectClean Hand Wipes incredibly economical for everything from wiping the handle of the shopping cart before touching it to using on vacations and for everyday use.

Also excellent for keeping and wiping your hands after each time you shake hands or touch things in public places plus in public gatherings. For instance, if in a wedding party standing in the meet and greet line, just casually have a PerfectClean in your pocket or a silk PerfectClean in your hand so you can continue to wipe off your hand inconspicuously between each greeting with guests.

Learn More About PerfectClean Hospital-Grade Hand Wipes Now!

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throwing away the tissue.
  • Surgical masks, which many people in Mexico are now wearing, can add a level of protection as you have likely seen on the news.
  • Reducing, where possible, being in contact with masses of people in public places.
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people.
  • If feeling sick with what are above symptoms then go immediately to your doctor, clinic or hospital. Stay home from work or school, and limit close contact with others and wear a surgical mask especially in public places, as you don’t want to pass along the flu if you do get sick.

Further, to most effectively keep contagions from making your family sick, a three-pronged approach works best.

1. Keep Potential Contagions Out of Your Home. A chief way microorganisms and other contaminants enter your home is through dust and dirt you track in on the bottom of your shoes. It's then circulated directly into the air you and your family breathe.

Trapping dirt right at the door, via doormats placed strategically around your home, can therefore go a long way toward reducing the amount of potentially contagious contaminants in your home's air. highly recommends the Waterhog Grand Premier Mats for this purpose. Unlike other mats out there, Waterhogs have a distinctive "water-dam" border that traps soil and liquids in the mat so they don't drain or track onto your floors ... while vastly minimizing slipping.

2. Eliminate Contagions in Your Home. Of course, you can't possibly keep all organisms from entering your home. Those that do get in can be effectively removed by using the proper cleaning tools. highly recommends the PerfectClean line of terry cloths and dusters -- used by hospitals, schools, leading hotels, and other leading commercial organizations -- for this purpose. Rather than just pushing dust and dirt around, or worse, stirring it up into the air, all PerfectClean products are made with positively charged ultramicrofibers that pick up everything in their path--including dust and all of its microscopic attachments.

3. Boost Your Body's First Line of Defense. Your Immune System. If you are exposed to a contagious disease, a strong immune system is key to fighting it off. You can keep your immune system strong by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods including vegetables and fruits, and keeping stress under control.

Short-term the good news is that even during the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the first wave in 1917 affected very few people.

Long-term (being within a year to two years), the real problem occurred in the second year 1918 when 50 Million people died worldwide.

Consider what you can do today “if” tomorrow your area was quarantined and you couldn’t go to work or your children couldn’t go to school. 

Ounce of prevention to eliminate the need of a pound of cure.

What steps can you take today to be assured you are able to function both at home and in public areas? Addressing such concerns in advance is your first line of defense regarding exposure to swine flu.

Consider how you can best provide for your loved one’s short term to long term needs if this was to occur.

The one thing you can be certain of. IF there is a major outbreak, there will be short supplies (if any are available) for even such simple solutions as Hospital-Grade PerfectClean hand wipe terry cloths, silk wipes, etc.

Recommended Reading

The Rise of Contagious Disease & How to Minimize Your Risk of Contagious Disease Exposure

H5N1 Kills 70% of Those Infected: Experts Say a Pandemic of this Lethal Flu Strain May be Coming


Yahoo News April 26, 2009

Reuters April 26, 2009

New Scientist April 26, 2009

ABC News April 26, 2009

Associated Press April 26, 2009

ABC News April 24, 2009 Swine Influenza

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