The WHO (World Health Organization) has raised severe concerns about Swine Flu becoming the latest epidemic to affect North America. About 68 people are already dead in Mexico and the number of confirmed Swine Flu cases in the United States has risen to 11. The Swine Flu virus can also affect young and healthy people.
What is Swine Flu (Swine Influenza)?
According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the 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”.
Symptoms of Swine Flue
Regular Flu like symptoms like Fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Will I Catch The Swine Flue Virus If I Eat Pork & Other Pig Products?
The Swine Flu virus is not transmitted by food. But you should always cook all kinds of meat to at least a temperature of 160F – this will ensure that all harmful bacteria including the Swine virus are killed. Also make sure that the meat you eat has been handled properly in a clean and hygienic environment.
What Else Can I Do?
- If you are experiencing any flu like symptoms (running nose, vomit, body aches, fever, sore throat), please rush to the closest hospital or doctor’s clinic. Do not sit back and think that it will go away soon. Swine Flu is treatable and your doctor would be in a position to give you the best medical advice on how to proceed if you are diagnosed with Swine Flu.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick or have flu like symptoms. It is ok to avoid going to that concert or party for some days.
- Always keep your hands clean. Use hand sanitizer as often as possible. If you have kids at home, make sure that they are also washing their hands before meals and every time they enter the house after spending sometime outside.
- Avoid travelling to areas where confirmed cases of Swine Flu have been reported. Keep yourself updated with the latest news on Swine Flu.
Are There Vaccines Or Medicines I Can Take To Prevent Swine Flu?
There are vaccines that can be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. The CDC is currently in the process of preparing a vaccine that can be administered to humans also. If you took the seasonal flu shot then you may be protected against the H3N2 Swine Flu strain. But the strain that has shown up in affected patients of Mexico and the United States is of the H1N1 variety and there is currently no vaccine for this kind of strain.
For more information on Swine Flu Influenza virus, please make sure to read the CDC Swine Flu Key Facts page.