Reduce your risk of contracting Swine Flu with these tips from Dr. Mihran Sefarian, Infectious Disease Specialist and Doctor of Internal Medicine in Edison, N. J. and Dr. Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, NY.
1. Remember: influenza viruses are transmitted from person to person by airborne particles during coughing or sneezing, or by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching contaminated objects.
2. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at hand and use it often after shaking hands and/or touching potentially contaminated objects outside of the home environment (subway rails, public computers, etc.).
3. Cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough (and remind your children to do so), and wash your hands afterward.
4. Stay at least six feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
5. If you or a family member is sick with flu-like symptoms, stay at home to avoid putting others at risk, and contact your health care provider.
6. Avoid crowded places.
7. Consider wearing a face mask if you must go to places where sick people may be present.
8. Avoid travel in general , especially to Mexico unless absolutely necessary (take above precautions if you must travel).
9. In children, do not use Aspirin and Aspirin-containing products such as Pepto-Bismol.
10. There is no medical reason to avoid consuming pork meat and related food products.
11. If you have been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected swine flu, call your doctor immediately.
12. If you have been exposed, you may be eligible to take an antiviral medication that could potentially avert the disease before it manifests itself (the earlier the better).
Symptoms to look for: cough, fever, sneezing, body aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting.
If you received a flu shot this year or late last year, you are NOT protected against contracting Swine Flu.
For more information about swine flu in humans and pigs, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website by clicking here.
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