H1N1 Prevention

Precautions to Take to Reduce Swine Flu

Take these steps to assure you don’t get infected

With the threat of new diseases and viruses always present in human life such as the recent swine flu pandemic, it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent infection. The standard precautions against infection are also to be treated as universal precautions since the same procedures apply to every individual.
Susceptibility to viruses depends on a person’s age and medical condition. Most pandemics usually claim the lives of infants, young children and the elderly since their bodies are more prone to diseases. Health care professionals and medical workers have the same standard precautions to follow since they are easily exposed to all types of diseases and can be potential carriers. Since the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, governments have emphasized the need to take precautions to reduce swine flu cases.

Hand-washing
Washing hands regularly is a simple and basic task. This is actually an important preventive measure but sometimes neglected by some. Health workers are advised to wash their hands before and after having contact with patients. Body fluids and blood are considered to be common carriers of viruses and they should be treated as contaminants. For visibly dirty hands due to physical or job activity, washing with soap and water will remove the dirt and grime. Apply alcohol for hands that look clean.
For parents, teach the children how to wash hands properly before and after eating. Tell them to cover their mouths and noses when someone is coughing or sneezing.

Protective Gear
The use of disposable and gloves and face masks bring added protection against swine flu. Not only are health workers doing this but also ordinary citizens living in threatened areas. When going out to work or riding in public transportation, people were advised to wear facemasks to avoid inhaling contaminated air particles. Remember that swine flu can easily be passed along through the air. Wearing protective masks in high-risk areas is a good way to prevent swine flu symptoms.

Getting Vaccination
Since the swine flu pandemic that swept the globe in 2009, calls for better H1N1 treatment and vaccination have been made. Special H1N1 vaccines contain antibodies that help fight foreign contaminants that enter the body.
Getting vaccinated is another preventive measure to avoid the symptoms of swine flu. After being vaccinated, it usually takes at least a few weeks to produce enough antibodies. The antibodies are present in the bloodstream to prepare for any attack by a foreign substance.
If an individual comes in contact with the H1N1 virus but has been vaccinated, the body identifies the virus and produces more antibodies to protect body against swine flu. The antibodies will reduce the effect of the virus to milder symptoms. In other cases, the vaccination has prevented a person from getting infected at all.
The H1N1 vaccine has effectively slowed down the spread of swine flu and decreased fatalities. Developing the vaccine was not easy and there have been many delays. However, once it was declared safe for mass production, the vaccine has provided the protection people needed against swine flu. The media also helped in raising awareness for the vaccine and encouraged people to go out and get vaccinated right away.
However, there have been rare cases in which vaccination against H1N1 produced side effects in some individuals. Medical professionals warn individuals who have allergies to eggs. People with this type of allergy should not be allowed to receive vaccine against H1N1. The virus used to kill the swine flu virus was grown in chicken eggs. If a person with an egg allergy were to receive a vaccination, he or she may experience severe allergic reactions. Symptoms include the appearance of rashes, difficulty in breathing and the swelling of throat.
As a precaution to the side effects of the H1N1 vaccine, the Center for Disease Control has advised against individuals with existing health problems, young children and pregnant women to refrain from taking the intranasal vaccine. They are allowed to receive the inactivated flu vaccine since this does not pose any potential side effects.

Healthy Living
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a great way to keep the body in shape to prevent flu. Eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercises helps ensure that the immune system in in good working condition. Taking vitamin supplements can also help prevent infection especially during the winter season or cold months.

Antiviral Medicines
At the height of the swine flu pandemic, governments around the world were instructed to distribute antiviral drugs to those who had serious symptoms of the swine flu. The antiviral drugs served as the H1N1 treatment to people on the brink of death because of the pandemic. For people who were infected with H1N1 but only have milder symptoms, the antiviral medicines were not necessary.
The limited availability of the antiviral drugs as swine flu treatment was practical since mass distribution would have created a global shortage for effective medicine. Patients who were suffering from serious complications were given priority to save their lives.

What to Do When Infected
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent people from getting swine flu, there are many precautions that one can take to avoid it altogether. Many people infected with the H1N1 virus experience mild swine flu symptoms.
When severe H1N1 symptoms are experienced, people are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It can be difficult for physicians to determine if the symptoms are related to swine flu or just the seasonal flu. The signs and symptoms of H1N1 can change quickly. When an individual has difficulty in breathing, feeling drowsy or vomits excessively, a trip to the nearest emergency room is recommended.
There are several precautions to take to reduce swine flu but there is still the possibility of acquiring the infection for circumstances beyond one’s control. Despite the potential risk, prevention is still better than cure. By taking the necessary precautions to avoid infection, a virus outbreak can be prevented. Being informed and aware of what’s happening can also help to reduce the risk.

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