How to Protect Yourself From the Swine Flu/H1N1 Virus

The swine flu has been declared a pandemic. Cases have been reported all across the globe. This doesn't necessarily mean that you will contract it yourself. Here are some ways that you can avoid the H1N1 flu virus.

The swine flu spreads similar to the seasonal flu ñ through human to human contact. One of the easiest ways to catch it is staying in close proximity to someone who has a confirmed case of the flu virus. If you know someone who has the flu, steer clear of them until they are no longer contagious (no fever for five to seven days).

For family members dealing with swine flu, keep the sick member of the family as comfortable and quarantined as possible. You don't have to imprison them in their room, but you can take precautions so that it doesn't infect you too.

Buy lots of tissues. When you or an infected person sneeze or cough, contain it with a tissue. Instead of leaving them lying around, throw them away immediately and wash your hands with soap and warm water. Droplets from sneezes or coughs can fall on surfaces or on you and find their way into your mucus membranes (nose, mouth, eyes) and cause infection.

Disinfect infected surfaces. The most common surfaces that can become infected are bathroom doorknobs, kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces, cups and eating utensils. Most household cleaners will destroy the influenza virus.

The virus can remain active on surfaces for up to eight hours so disinfecting is a necessary measure. Washing linens after a person recovers from the swine flu can help to reduce the spread of the virus as well.

The single most effective way to reduce your risk of infection is hand washing. The majority of germs can be killed before they have a chance to affect you. children especially are used to touching surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. After spending time caring for a sick family member or being around someone else with suspected flu, wash your hands.

Proper hand washing takes fifteen to twenty seconds. Cover your hands with soap and then run them under warm water as you lather up. Rub all surfaces of your hands and nails vigorously.

If you don't have access to soap and water at the time, you can also use hand sanitizers. The high percentage of alcohol, when rubbed on your hands completely, will kill any germs on them.

Everyone can take measures to prevent the spread of the swine flu. Always wash your hands especially around someone who potentially may be sick. Spend as much time away from flu sufferers as possible also. You don't have to quarantine someone with the swine flu, but following the above precautions will reduce your chances of getting sick as you nurse them back to health.


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