Last week, the federal government reported that 556 people have died of Swine Flu in the United States so far this year. The Center For Disease Control recently cautioned that as many as 90,000 Americans could die from the disease if precautionary methods and practices are not set in place and followed.
The 90,000 figure represents a worst case scenario. On average, 30,000 people die from the “regular” seasonal flu every year. Truth is, no one can predict how widespread or intense the Swine Flu pandemic will be. A recent report indicates that the problem with the Swine Flu isn’t so much that it is more deadly, but that it is more widespread. The Swine Flu is a new virus that people have little or no immunity for.
What Are The Symptoms of Swine Flu?
• Fever of 100 degrees or higher.
• Head and body aches.
• Sore throat.
• Trouble breathing.
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department recommends that you call your doctor or medical provider if you have a fever of 100 degrees or higher AND one of the symptoms listed above.
What Can I Do to Prevent Getting Sick?
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department recommends the following:
• Wash your hands with soap and hot water to get rid of germs and prevent the spread of disease, especially after coughing and sneezing. If you do not have soap and water, use a hand gel with an alcohol base of at least 60%.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue whenever you sneeze and cough. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the fold of your elbow, without using your hands.
• Avoid kissing or shaking hands when greeting people, and do not share food, drinks, or utensils.
• Keep common areas clean; places such as kitchen counters, bathrooms, door handles, toys, telephones and other household items.
• Allow fresh air to flow into your home or at work by opening screened windows and doors.
In an effort to prevent the spread of Swine Flu, government agencies at every level are urging people to stay home from work if they are sick and to keep their children home from school if they are symptomatic. Too often, people send their kids to school when they are sick because they can’t afford to miss work. Given the potential severity of the Swine Flu epidemic, it is society that can’t afford to have sick people infecting others at school and at work.