Staying Healthy During a Flu Pandemic
|Thursday, 07 May 2009|
The recent outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu) in Mexico, and now the U.S. and throughout the world, is a reminder that everyone must do their part to help in preventing the spread of influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released information and resources to help citizens and health care providers get educated and stay healthy to prevent the further spread of the swine flu or any pandemic flu. The site describes the illness and its origin, signs and symptoms, and advice for avoiding swine flu. As always, individuals with heart disease and other chronic illnesses should take extra precaution to protect themselves from the flu virus.
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, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. The virus is spread in the same way as seasonal flu – person to person through coughing or sneezing. It is not caused by eating pork.
To protect yourself from getting sick, follow basic health guidelines like washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your mouth and eyes, and avoiding contact with sick people. If you do feel sick, avoid crowded areas and see a health care provider immediately. For more information about H1N1, visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu.
Emergency responders can take an extra step to help stop the spread of the virus by maintaining clean emergency medical transport vehicles. PandemicFlu.gov, a resource of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has issued general guidelines for cleaning and maintaining ambulances during a pandemic flu. Learn more at www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/healthcare/cleaning_ems.html. Find these and other resources regarding H1N1 and pandemic influenza on the NVFC web site at www.nvfc.org/pandemicflu and on the Fire Corps web site at www.firecorps.org/pandemicflu.