Protecting Your Family From the Swine Flu
Dr.Walt Larimore is an award-winning medical journalist, a best-selling author, and a nationally-recognized family physician. He is also a family friend, someone my husband and I trust and respect. In recent days, he's posted several blogs on the swine flu. Here are some tips he offered for protecting your family from the flu:
1. Wash hands frequently-- Avoid rubbing eyes or touching your nose with dirty hands. Wash hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners.
2. Try to avoid people who are coughing and sneezing-- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash after using it. Teach your kids to do the same.
3. If experiencing flu-like symptoms, don’t go out — stay at home. Call a healthcare professional, particularly if a person has been to Mexico, southern California and southern Texas. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who get sick stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
4. Stay informed and plan ahead-- Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said it’s important to stay informed about what’s going on in your community, and whether the authorities — such as the state or county health departments – have issued any recommendations.
5. Avoid surfaces and objects that may be handled by many people. For kids, this may include doctor’s office toys, surfaces that a lot of other kids are touching. Keep all surfaces and objects around the house clean. This becomes especially relevant if there is someone in that house who is sick or has the flu already. Try to teach kids not to touch their faces. This is like mass transit for germs: straight from the hands to the eyes, nose and mouth.
The CDC advises those who feel symptoms to contact their doctor right away.What are the symptoms of the swine flu? According to the CDC:
"The 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. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu."
If you see your healthcare professional within 24 hours of the start of symptoms, there are prescription medications that can reduce the length and severity of the flu.
And finally, one myth that can be dispelled: There are no signs people can get the swine flu from eating pork.
To read Dr. Larimore's post "Swine Flu: Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Panic," go here.