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In light of the recent reports that some swine flu cases were reported, I have put together a short information guide on what to do when your child has flu symptoms and you start worrying. It is important to note that teens are not immune to this flu as it was previously thought. Some flu cases were reported in a school in New York so caution is recommended.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.
You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Here are symptoms to watch for:
- Sore throat
- Body Aches
What To Do When Symptoms Appear:
- Keep him home from school
- Contact your family physician, since to accurately diagnose swine flu, respiratory specimen needs to be analyze by a qualified laboratory. Early report to the physician is a key here – the specimen needs to be taken in the first 4-5 days of symptoms.
- Seeking help early might make a difference in preventing the illness from getting worse
- Good hand washing is always important – using alcohol-based sanitizer
- Give your child tissues to cover their mouth and noses if they sneeze or cough. The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets
- Ask your child to be aware of his friends having symptoms and ask him to make sure he keeps his distance and tells you about it
Final note – just in case you wondered:
The H1N1 swine flu virus is not the same as the human H1N1 virus. They are very different and therefore vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection form H1N1 swine flu viruses.
Please add your comments, suggestions and tips on preventing flu – this is all about sharing and your input will be valued by others!