How to Prevent Swine Flu

Avoid H1N1 Influenza in Mumbai, India

By now you've probably seen the frightening pictures from many parts of India especially Mumbai & Pune of people trying to avoid catching the swine flu infection. Unfortunately swine flu has now been confirmed in multiple locations within Maharashtra.

So far many people in India infected with swine flu have died. It is a highly contagious infection and potentially deadly. So take these precautions to prevent being infected by swine flu....

1. Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; ideally use something disposable like a tissue. Avoid touching your face, nose or mouth too frequently with your hands since swine flu appears to be transmitted through respiratory droplets in the same fashion as the common cold.

2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water since swine flu like other viruses can be contracted by touching objects contaminated by the virus. It's unsure how long the swine flu virus can survive on surrounding surfaces.

3. Though alcohol based hand sanitizers don't routinely kill viruses they probably do offer some limited protection in preventing swine flu infections.

4. If swine flu infections have been medically confirmed in your area consider avoiding large public gatherings. Individuals can be contagious with the swine flu virus for several day before demonstrating any signs or symptoms of infection. Be particularly careful about indoor gatherings where air circulates poorly.

5. If you're really paranoid and don't mind looking odd then consider wearing a respiratory mask. This barrier method does offer some basic protection against infection though not all masks are created equally. Higher quality masks capable of filtering out some respiratory infections are more expensive.

Good Ways to Prevent Swine Flu

6. If you start feeling ill with cold or flu-like symptoms do not go to work. Stay home and begin the usual home remedies for colds and flu. Contact your doctor, local health department or hospital emergency room if your symptoms worsen or fail to improve for information about where to go to be screened for possible swine flu infection.

7. Try to stay away from people who seem to be sneezing a lot or seem infected from flu like symptoms. The prevention of any disease is the best strategy.

8. Wash your hands frequently, especially after coming from work or from anywhere outside. Use soap or specific disinfectants designed to combat flu viruses.

9. If the flu virus strikes your local area, the best strategy is to avoid public places like grocery stores, markets and shopping malls. If you really have to go out try wearing a protective face mask covering your nose and mouth area. This does not guarantee protection from virus but it will minimize the chances of a contamination through air.

10. Know what the signs of swine flu are in people. The symptoms look a lot like an ordinary flu and include fever (greater than 100F or 37.8C), cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. It is reported that diarrhea and vomiting can also be included with the symptoms of illness. There's no way to tell if you have the swine flu unless a respiratory specimen is taken within the first 4-5 days and sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or equivalent).

11. Make sure you are in good health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Consider taking a Vitamin C supplement. The healthier you are, the better your immune system will be at defending your body against a virus.

12. Practice good hygiene. If you sneeze, keep a disposable tissue in front of your mouth, after sneezing or blowing your nose throw the tissue away. Wash your hands often, especially if after blowing your nose/sneezing and before you eat. Use a disinfectant when possible or just use soap and water.

13. Don't share utensils or drinks. In cafeteria settings, it's not uncommon for people to casually share utensils or take a sip from someone else's drink. This should be completely avoided if there is any risk of a flu pandemic.

14. Wear a facemask or respirator as instructed by authorities. If used correctly, facemasks and respirators may help prevent some exposure to flu viruses. However, facemasks should be used along with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing.

15. Prevention is always better than cure. Send this article to everyone you know to prevent Swine Flu from spreading in India. It is free to forward this article so please do to help us keep Mumbai safe and healthy.

Above is a Picture of the Swine Flu virus. Help stop this deadly virus from spreading to Mumbaikars and Indians.

- This article has been issued for the Public of India by Savio DSilva (M.S.).