Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Avoid the flu, wash your hands

An informational briefing held at the Capitol this morning provided lawmakers and office staff information on the H1N1 Swine Flu. University of Hawaii Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw discussed the facts of the swine flu, TAMIFLU, and prevention methods. Hinshaw has a background in research of pathogenesis, immune recognition and the ecology of influenza viruses.

Hinshaw warned that consumer stockpiling of anti-virals, such as TAMIFLU, is unnecessary and can be problematic to public health care. Some populations are more susceptible to contracting the flu. Anti-virals need to be saved for emergency response to a high-populated outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu. The Hawaii State Department of Health has prepared for an outbreak of the Swine Flu in Hawaii by stockpiling TAMIFLU in all departments. She mentioned that the public must focus on remaining calm as the outbreak of Swine Flu is currently milder compared to the common seasonal flu, and told lawmakers that their leadership will be pivotal.

Flu Facts:

The flu changes and adapts rapidly by genetically mutating according to the environment and the carrier. That is why the flu vaccine is updated annually to meet genetic changes or modification made to the virus. It is a highly transferable by touch and other kinds of contact. The most recognizable symptom of any type of flu is the presence of a fever.

False Facts:

You cannot get Swine Flu from eating cooked pork or any other cooked meats. Paper masks do not offer much protection from Swine Flu. It merely blocks sneezes and coughs from others.

What is TAMIFLU?

Tami flu is an over-the-counter product, not a vaccine, used to alleviate the symptoms of influenza and reduces the productivity of the virus in the body. It does not prevent the entry of an influenza virus. When a person identifies the flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and tiredness. If a fever is absent then it unlikely that a person has the flu. Some people have also had diarrhea and vomiting with the Swine Flu. Before leaving the home people should call a physician who will then confirm Swine Flu symptoms and assist with local clinic instructions.

Preventive Tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

1. Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
2. Avoid close contact with anyone who appears sick.
3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash or sanitize your hands after you sneeze.
4. If you feel sick, stay home from work or school, and limit contact with others.
5. Clean your workplace environment regularly with sanitizer or rubbing alcohol, particularly equipment and surfaces shared by others.
6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Air Travel Tips

Travelers should drink lots of liquids before getting on an airplane because the high altitudes dry out nasal passages making a person more susceptible to invasion by the virus. The public should not be afraid to travel. It is no different from being in a conference meeting at the capitol, taking notes in a crowded lecture hall at UH Manoa, or in any other place putting people in close proximity.

1 comment:

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