For Immediate Release
Swine Flu: Facts and Prevention Tips
An outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has prompted travel warnings to that country as international and U.S. agencies monitor the spread of the disease, which has resulted in more than 100 deaths in Mexico and the first death in the United States (reported on April 29, 2009, in Texas). Several cases have been reported in the Dallas area.
Tips for Prevention
Students, faculty, staff and administrators in the Dallas County Community College District can help deter the spread of swine flu and other types of influenza by following some basic tips provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, Ga.
The CDC tells everyone that the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Here are the CDC’s tips, based on those good health habits:
- Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them.
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work or school and don’t run errands when you are sick to help others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and your nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean your hands; washing your hands often will protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Why? Germs often are spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches her or his eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits – get plenty of sleep; be physically active; manage your stress; drink plenty of fluids; eat nutritious food.
If you become ill, see your doctor. If you would like to read the CDC’s list of tips to avoid contracting seasonal flu (which applies to swine flu), visit their Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
What is swine flu?
The CDC defines swine influenza as a respiratory disease of pigs caused by the type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates among pigs; most outbreaks among swine occur during the late fall and winter months, similar to outbreaks in humans.
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons who are exposed directly to pigs; additionally, documented cases have occurred in which one person spreads swine flu to others. In the past, the CDC has received reports of approximately one human swine flu influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S.; however, from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza virus had been reported before the current outbreak (April 2009).
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of swine flu, according to the CDC, are similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza. They include:
- Lack of appetite
- Other symptoms that may occur in some people could include a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food; they are transmitted mainly person-to-person, usually when people are exposed to others who are infected and who cough or sneeze on them, sharing the virus. People also may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then by touching their nose or mouth.
The CDC has posted key facts about swine influenza (swine flu) at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.htm
Source for all information provided above: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DCCCD, the Dallas County Health Department and other local, state and federal agencies will continue to monitor the swine flu outbreak, share information with the community and take appropriate action when indicated.
Information is available on many other web sites, including:
Dallas County Health Department
National Swine Flu Situation Page
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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