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First Published Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Swine Flu Conference

Article Date: 28 Apr 2009

The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about swine flu can cause anyone to feel anxious and worried. These reactions are understandable because circumstances are rapidly evolving and knowledge of the illness is limited. Even during this period of uncertainty, you can take several steps to manage your anxiety and have a positive outlook. The American Psychological Association has useful information and tips for coping.

Among the tips are:

“Get the facts” – gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable precautions;

“Keep things in perspective” – government officials need to prepare for worst-case scenarios in order to protect the public. The public, however, does not need to expect the worst. To date, the cases that have been identified in the United States are not severe. There has been one hospitalization and no deaths. Also, twelve previous cases of swine flu in the United States between 2005 and 2009 were treated and the illness did not spread;

“Maintain a hopeful outlook” – public health agencies around the globe are working on identifying outbreaks of the illness and to ensure the availability of the best medical care to those who are sick. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to upsetting media coverage.

“Build resilience” – resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, threats or significant sources of stress. Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage life’s adversities to help you manage your emotions during this challenging time.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Source: American Psychological Association

Swine Flu Poster

Latest Swine Flu News

FAQ: Swine flu symptoms, prevention, treatment

What you need to know about the Swine Flu or the Human Swine Influenza A (H1N1) virus that has hit Mexico, the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine Influenza or swine flu is a type of respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. The disease is normally not passed on to people but human infections can and do happen. A few cases of swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person to person but in the past, transmission was only limited and not sustained beyond three people.

What were previous incidences of human swine flu infections?

In 1998, an outbreak of swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin, USA resulted in multiple human infections. Although no community outbreak resulted, the virus was transmitted to a few people including the health care workers who had close contact with the patient. The center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US also reports approximately one human swine flu virus infection every one to two years but from December 2005 to February 2009, 12 cases of human infection have been reported.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever (temperature above 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, aching joints, nasal congestion and fatigue. Some people with swine flu also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How does swine flu spread?

The swine flu virus can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs such as in pig barns (babuyan). Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu, which is mainly through uncovered coughs and sneezes or by touching your mouth or nose with unwashed hands.

How can a person get infected by the swine flu virus?

A person can get infected if he/she touches something contaminated with the virus and then touches the eyes, mouth or nose. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours, like a doorknob just touched by someone who sneezed into his hand. Germs also spread in the air through droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person.

Can people catch swine flu by eating pigs or pork?

According to scientists and doctors, the swine influenza virus is NOT transmitted by food. Eating properly handled and well-cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork at a temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How to protect or prevent oneself from getting infected?

There is currently no vaccine available yet to protect against swine flu. For now, these steps can help protect your health:

  • *Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • *Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • *Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread this way.
  • *Stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • *Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • *If you get sick with influenza, stay home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?

The Center for Disease Control recommends oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and prevention of swine flu. These antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against flu by keeping the virus from reproducing in the body. Specifically, these flu drugs are Tamiflu by Roche and Relenza by GlaxoSmith Kline.

What should be done if a person is showing swine flu symptoms?

Stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.  If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek medical care as soon as possible.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • *Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • *Bluish skin color
  • *Not drinking enough fluids
  • *Not waking up or not interacting
  • *Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • *Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • *Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs include:

  • *Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • *Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • *Sudden dizziness
  • *Confusion
  • *Severe or persistent vomiting

Source: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)


“Swine Flu: A Special Warning to those with OCD”:

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